Animal Husbandry is potentially one of the most important sectors of rapid socioeconomic development of the State. Fast growth in this sector is essential not only to achieve higher productivity levels in livestock production but also for increase in rural house hold income.The Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department of the State has been implementing various socio-economic programmes to create gainful employment opportunities in the rural areas.

Assam is endowed with the sufficient livestock population in the country . Livestock rearing is one of the most important economic activities in the rural areas of the state providing supplementary income for most of the families dependent on agriculture. Apart from providing a subsidiary income to the families, rearing of livestock such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry etc. is a source of protein.

Livestock production in Assam is characterized by rural smallholder production using indigenous cattle, buffalo, pigs, goats and chicken. There are pockets of nomadic systems of rearing, mostly in the fringes of the forests. In recent years, more specialized and commercially intensive production areas have emerged where farmers are using improved livestock and commercial poultry strains. Livestock in the State is largely fed on crop residues, food waste, while high-producing animals are supplemented with concentrated grain-based feed. Unlike in other parts of India where cooperative farming (such as in Amul Dairy), has revolutionized livestock sector, investment in cooperative farming in the State has remained largely unsuccessful.

Assam : Challenges of Animal husbandry development

  • Livestock Resources : Livestock in the state is highly livelihood-oriented and is generally owned by small and marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers. The livestock is basically a component of production system, contributing to sustainable agricultural systems. The livestock population in the state is very large in numbers but its productivity is very low compared to other parts of the country.The composition of livestock population of Assam consists of 63.4 per cent cattle followed by goat (21 per cent). Buffaloes accounts for 5.8 per cent while the share of pig is 8.62 per cent and of sheep is the lowest, i.e. 0.66 per cent. Assam does not have any economically important breeds of livestock except the indigenous bullock (2.06 million) on which most of the agricultural operations depend. The indigenous cows are of poor reproductive efficiency. All the breeds of livestock are native to Assam. Efforts are necessary to upgrade the indigenous cattle, goat and pigs through infusion of exotic/Indian breeds of cattle, goat and pigs. There are 3.69 lakh of crossbred cattle (Jersey x local) in Assam, which is a negligible proportion of the total cattle population. The buffaloes in Assam are mostly of swamp type. About 1.8 lakh male buffaloes are used for cultivation of paddy, drawing carts and logs of timber. No river-type buffaloes are found in rural Assam. Swamp buffaloes are poor in milk production and are good source of buffalo meat production but, this has not yet been exploited commercially. Goat is very popular all over the state. It adapts quickly to harsh environment and has high reproductive efficiency, fair milk yield and excellent meat quality.

Ø  Livestock Rearing System : By and large, cattle, buffalo, sheep and goat in Assam are reared under traditional system of management, i.e. the animals are let loose throughout the day and in the evening they are tied in animal shed made of locally available materials. In contrast to rural areas, around the cities and towns intensive management system is generally practised particularly for the crossbred cattle meant for milk production. The cows are housed throughout the day and night. The animals are stall-fed with cut grasses and tree leaves along with feeding roughage and concentrates. Community grazing system is rarely seen even in rural areas. The disappearance of at large number of village grazing reserve (VGR) and professional grazing reserve (PGR) due to increasing human population pressure adversely affected the livestock sector.

  • The effective technology intervention on Artificial Insemination has not been fully put into gear. Except cows, other species of animals have not been covered under A.I programme.
  • Lack of stated policy on animal breeding and other strategies on livestock development in Assam.
  • Absence of quality breeds of animals, all the animals are nondescript types resulting in poor animal productivity
  • Acute shortage of feed concentrate and green fodder is the root cause of the poor performance as the genetic potentiality of an animal cannot be exploited fully in the absence of proper nutrition
  • Small land holding size limiting cultivation of fodder. The entire land is put under crop production for human consumption
  • Presence of fragmented, unorganized market for all livestock products, which involves chains of middlemen who reap the actual benefit depriving the real producers of their rightful share

Different Animal husbandry activities in Assam


Poultry Development

The major obstacle of poultry industry in Assam is the cost of poultry feed. Since Assam is deficient in oilseed production, most of the oilcakes are imported from other states of the country. Although there are 23 poultry breeding farms including five Duck breeding farms, commercial egg producing farms are not gaining popularity in the State due to the high cost of poultry feed. To popularise poultry farming emphasis have been given in back yard poultry farming and rearing of special type of birds like Banaraja, Giriraja other than locally available birds which are regarded as zero input birds with high producti on of eggs(180 eggs per annum against 78-80 eggs by locally available birds).

Piggery Development

Govt. owned Pig Farms have been strengthened with fi nancial assistance under World Bank and Integrated Piggery Development Programme (100% Central Assistance) to produce quality piglets and to distribute the same to the farmers/ breeders to upgrade the local variety for meat production. The Department also taken steps to establish” Pig Villages” to create organised net work for more production of meat and to create gainful employment. At present, 460 SHGs are supported for production of pigs and a farm is expanded to accommodate 100 sows for production of piglets to cater the need of the State.

Goat Development

Considering the low productivity of meat and milk from local breed of goat, the Department has proposed to introduce superior germplasm (Beetal) for upgradation of the local Assam hill goat and also to conserve the local hill goat for its hide & meat and its high rate of proliferation.

Breed upgradation programme

Despite having sizeable number of cattle milk production in the State it is not upto the level of satisfaction as the major percentage of the cattle population in the State are of non-descript type. Implementation of schemes under World Bank and National Project on Cattle-Buffalo Breeding (NPCBB), although assisted increase of milk production to a considerable extent in the State, achievements in case of production of cross breed animal was not upto the satisfaction. According to the Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Department the State could produce only 4.5 percent cross breed animal. At present, breed upgradation programme is carried out through 515 centres under AACP and another 600 and 300 centres are strengthened under RKVY and NPCBB. The private AI workers engaged in remote areas could not create much impact due to lack of awareness among the farmers.

Programmes and schemes

Assam Agricultural Competitiveness Project

Though Assam has enormous potential for livestock and poultry farming, lack of knowledge and interest are some of the factors that prevent the youths to avail opportunity in joining this entrepreneurship. To create awareness on scientific rearing and management of Crossbred Catt le through A.I. (Artificial Insemination), the department has organized various programmes like holding of free Animal Health Camps and Calf Rallies etc., under AACP (Assam Livestock Development Agency-ALDA which is a component of AACP).

Frozen Semen

The process of A. I. with the use of Frozen Semen to upgrade the local indigenous cattle to increase milk productivity has received a gaining popularity in the state and the production of Frozen Semen is going on in the Frozen Semen Bull Station at Khanapara.

National Project for cattle and Buffalo Breeding

This is a centrally sponsored scheme. The State Implementation unit of NPCBB was established in the name of Assam Livestock Development agency in the year 2004. Under NPCBB, Assam Livestock Development Agency (ALDA) renovated the semen station and restructured it as per the advice of the Central Monitoring Unit. ALDA also brought 14 new purebred Jersey Bull Calves of high pedigree as per MSP norms from Sunaveda Central Government Jersey Bull Rearing Farm in Orissa. Currently the station is producing annually around 1.50 lakh – 2.00 lakh frozen semen doses.

Coordinated Cattle Breeding Project

The main component of the Veterinary Department is Cattle Breeding. India, although shares more than 20 percent of the World’s Catt le population, contributes only 15 percent of the live stock products due to poor productivity from the non-descript cattle breed. The basic aim of launching the CCBP is to select future proven bull through the process of SIRE EVALUATION in order to enhance the milk production economically as well as to reduce the gap between demand and supply of milk.

Bovine Contagious Pneumonia Project

The Bovine Contagious pneumonia eradication programme in Assam is implemented by the Department since 2001 as per the guidelines of NPRE, Govt. of India. Considerable success has been achieved in the clinical surveillance of BCCP eradication programme in Assam. Till the end of March 2010 as many as 56891 villages and 8256 institutions of eight endemic districts were searched. In addition to the above, 17373 animals were examined in the slaughter houses of the said districts and 98878 animals were examined in the stock routes.

National Project on Rinderpest Eradication

The department has successfully completed all the three phases of the NPRE programme in the state as per the guidelines of Govt. of India. Surveillance programme are being conducted under NPRE for total eradication of Rinderpest and Bovine Contagious pluro Pneumonia. At present surveillance work in the State is in operation and sero-surveillance work temporarily suspended and will restart on receipt of instruction from NPRE Govt. of India.



Veterinary Biological

The Institute of Veterinary Biologicals, Khanapara is producing and procuring vaccines against economically important diseases of animals and birds to fulfill the need of the State. During 2008-09 and 2009-10, 33.28 lakh doses of different types of vaccines have been distributed to the field under the aid of ASCAD.

Dairy Development

The Dairy Development in Assam was initiated in the latter part of the Second Five Year Plan period with the basic concept of procurement, processing and distribution of milk and aiming at economic upliftment of rural milk producers as well as to generate employment opportunities among the farming communities and to help urban consumers to get quality milk at a reasonable price. Against this backdrop following strategies have been adopted for dairy development in Assam:

  • Dairy Farming will be developed on cluster basis in the potential districts of Assam.
  • The small dairy farmers will be organised into dairy cooperative societies (DCS) or Self Help Groups (SHGs). The primary DCS/SHGs will form the district level milk union or NGO. All the organisati ons will functi on democrati cally and the State Govt. will have little say over the unions.
  • The Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Department and Dairy, DRDA, SFAC etc., will provide back ended subsidy for taking up the self employment activities. Bank or other financial institutions will be linked up for remaining project cost.
  • Support services/facilities like rural milk collection centres, cold storage, farm inputs, selling booths will be created and run in collaboration with cooperative societies or private parties.
  • Milk produced by farmers will be collected and tested and the same will be transported to Dairy Plant from rural milk collection centres.
  • Milk will be processed in the Dairy Plant and will be marketed through the modern milk selling booths.
  • All the beneficiaries will be imparted orientati on training programme by the Dairy Development Department. Some selected beneficiaries will be sent for exposure visit to other parts of the country.

Milk Village Scheme (State Plan)

This is a State Plan Scheme meant for distribution of cross bred cattle among the people of selected villages on a cluster basis in different sub-divisions of the State. Based on the fund allocation, the numbers of beneficiaries are selected for each district and sub-division. Cattle along with calf and other inputs like cattle insurance, cowshed, medicine, feed and fodder are provided to the beneficiaries. An amount of `242.00 lakh is proposed to assist 311 beneficiaries during 2010-11. The assistance include two cross breed jersey cows along with calf, cattle shed, insurance, medicine and fodder, training etc under the scheme.

Town Milk Supply Scheme

There are all together 7 (seven) nos. of Town Milk Supply Schemes in Assam which are running at Khanapara (Guwahati ), Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Silchar, North Lakhimpur and Garampani (Umrangshoo). These Town Milk Supply Schemes procure milk from the rural farmers and after processing the milk, it is distributed to the urban consumers at a reasonable price. There are all together 18 (eighteen) nos. of Chilling Plants under these Town Milk Supply Schemes which are actually engaged in collection of raw milk and Chilling of the same. But most of these Chilling Plants are non-functional. Steps have been taken to revive / up-grade the non-functional plants with a schematic approach in consultation with NDDB. The main objective of the scheme is to procure process and market the milk produced by the rural milk producers with a view to give them an assured market as well as to provide hygienic and clean milk and milk products to the urban consumers at reasonable prices. To achieve the goal the state Dairy Department planned to revitalise the existing milk chilling plants and processing plants by inducting new machineries etc. Fund for the purpose will be allocated with rational proposition. Further due to activities resulted out of implementation of the projects like EAP and CSS, the societies have taken steps to increase milk production in the producers’ level which has started showing results.




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