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Animal Husbandry and Dairying is a State subject, hence Animal Resources Development Department, Government of West Bengal is basically responsible for formulation and implementation of Livestock and Poultry policies and programmes of the State.  It carries out its functions through various functionaries and institutions under the Department mostly by way of implementation of various developmental activities through plan and non-plan schemes.  The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries of the Government of India supplements the efforts of the State Governments in the development of these sectors.  The Department has been providing assistance to the State Government for the control of animal diseases,  scientific management and up-gradation of genetic resources, increasing availability of nutritious feed and fodder, sustainable development of processing and marketing facilities and enhancement of production and profitability of livestock enterprises.  Some of the main items of functions relate to:
#             Breeding policy for livestock and poultry;
#             Providing health cover and containment of diseases through prophylactic, diagnostic and curative service;
#             Disease diagnosis and surveillance;
#             Manufacturing and supply of veterinary biological and critical inputs for genet improvement programme;
#             Veterinary education and research through West Bengal Animal & Fisheries Sciences University;
#             Promotion of co-operative poultry and backyard poultry;
#             Compilation and analysis of statistical assessment of production of animal products;
#             Feed and fodder development;
#             Conservation of native breeds;
#             Implementation of Statutes and Acts relating to livestock, quality control of animal products especially for export and issuance of registration/license to  the Dairy Entrepreneurs;
#             Improvement of the productivity of livestock and poultry through scientific breeding, feeding and management;
#             Providing extension services and practical training facilities to the farmers in advanced animal husbandry practices;
#             Conducting the Livestock Census once in five years, besides conducting the Integrated Sample Survey every year for estimating the production of major livestock products viz., milk, meat, wool  and egg and their by-products;
#             Introducing improved breeding techniques for grading up local stock;
#             Encouraging setting up of Livestock and Poultry Industries.
                The institutions that work under the Department mostly by way of implementation of various developmental activities through plan and non-plan schemes can be categorized as follows:
Development Initiatives
Nats especially for export and issuance of registration/license to  the Dairy Entrepreneurs;
#             Improvement of the productivity of livestock and poultry through scientific breeding, feeding and management;
#             Providing extension services and practical training facilities to the farmers in advanced animal husbandry practices;
#             Conng
Directorate of Animal Resources & Animal Health
(DAR & AH)                                                                                         :               Health & Extension
West Bengal University of Animal & Fishery Sciences
(WBUA&FS)                                                                                       :               Veterinary Education and Research
Directorate of Dairy Development                                           :               Milk Processing & Supply at Greater
                                                                                                                                Kolkata & other areas.
West Bengal Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation
Ltd. (WBCMPF)                                                                                 :               Milk Marketing
West Bengal Dairy & Poultry Development Corporation
Ltd. (DAIRPOUL)                                                                               :               Feed Production
West Bengal Livestock Development Corporation
Ltd. (WBLDC)                                                                                     :               Meat Marketing

 

                Mixed crop-livestock farming and pastroralism are the two common production systems found across rain fed agriculture zones.  Mixed crop-livestock farming production system is prevalent in our State.  The important roles of livestock, within the agricultural sector, in contributing to rural livelihoods, and particularly those of the poor, are well-recognized.  Livestock is also important as a part of agriculture diversification and income enhancement.

                Women play a major role in livestock production and most of them have good knowledge about  livestock behavior and local feeds.  There is an increasing trend towards participation of women in livestock rearing activities.  Role of livestock in generating employment and income in rural areas is well established and livestock development has become an important component of rural development programmes i.e., “Equity and extending benefits directly to women” can be achieved through livestock development, since livestock distribution is less skewed than land.

                The overall physical target during 11th Plan period of Animal Resources Development Department has been to augment production of milk, meat and egg in the State so that the gap between demand and supply of milk, meat and egg may be minimized to some extent at the end of the plan period.

                There are three distinct constraints that stand in the way of the effective growth of this sector.  All livestock and poultry are indigenous and low-productive.  Augmentation of production and productivity is the most challenging constraint that is being addressed.  Availability of feed and fodder is another serious constraint.  Increasing number of unproductive and low productive cattle and buffaloes is also posing a stumbling block in animal husbandry development as the ratio between breedable cattle and total cattle is only 34%.  This policy of forced maintenance of unproductive and low productive animals beyond their economic utility has been depriving the livestock sector of any return and burdens farmers financially.  Again, livestock cannot perform well unless they are maintained in a good state of health.  Cost of animal diseases to the state’s economy is significant.