Genetics- Tool to raise Milk led, Farm Income Permanantly

GORMALONE September 28, 2018

Genetics – Tool to raise Milk led, farm Income Permanently

Milk is the largest agri product in India. Hence, any initiative which leads to increase in income from milk farming, leads to a positive impact on large number of farmers. Milk farmers who have adopted higher quality genetics, have seen a permanent increase in their productivity, which in turn has led to increased farm income. According to Amul, the total income of its farmer-members, has increased by five times in the last eight years, implying income growth at CAGR of 22% during this period. As a result, Milk has been at the Centre of rural transformation for many villages in Gujarat.

Tool to raise farm income.

Why are we focusing on milk to raise farm income

Growth in farm income from crop cultivation has been 3.7% in the last decade. The growth in income from livestock including dairy has been much faster at 14.3%. We are focusing on Milk to raise farm income for the following 5 key reasons:
  • More than 70 m rural households in India depend on dairying for livelihood
  • Milk farming helps to reduce the farmer’s risk from weather and keeps up a constant inflow of income. As a result, it has led to reduction in poverty
  • Leads to women empowerment since women take care of the dairying business and enhance family income
  • Transparent “Market Connect” is available in Milk through large co-operatives such as Amul and few large private sector dairies such as Hatsun, Prabhat, Creamline, Dodla. This is crucial for long term success of the farmers
  • Availability of highly credible and successful option such as Genetics, to raise the farmer’s income permanently.

What do we mean by Genetics?

In Indian context, we use “Genetics” as a term for the use of Semen of bulls with proven “High Genetic Merit”. Essentially, this means improving the properties of existing breed of cattle with the use of superior quality of parentage leading to:
  •  Better life expectancy
  •  Reduced vulnerability to various diseases
  •  Improved breeding and lactating properties including higher yield

What are the merits of use of Genetics in India?

Key advantages of Genetics in India are:
  • It enables farmers to produce more milk with fewer cows
  • You get cows that are naturally more resilient, reducing the need for medication including anti-biotics
  • Quality of milk is superior since it has been produced without using medications and most critically
  • Genetics is a one-time investment which leads to a permanent elevation in the income during the life of a higher pedigree cattle.

Genetics provides the highest impact in raising milk farm productivity

There are 4 key tools available to raise productivity in Milk Farming. These are:

  • Genetics
  • Nutrition
  • Automation including better farm management practices and
  • Use of vaccines and diagnostics. Of these, we believe, Genetics provides the highest impact of more than 60% in raising farm productivity and that too, on a permanent basis.

Despite its highest impact, use of Genetics has been low at the farm level due to:

  •  Higher upfront investment for the farmer and
  •  Longer duration of 3 years for results to reflect in farmer’s income.

Key players who offer genetics to farmers in India

In India, there are 4 key players providing semen of “high genetic merit”. These are Sabarmati Ashram Gaushala (SAG), Amul, BAIF and Genus ABS. SAG is the largest of them with a highly dedicated team. Most of them have consistently kept pace with the technological developments to ensure technical competence. We believe, the sector needs to:

  •  Raise awareness of the power of Genetics
  •  Enhance its capacity to distribute semen of region specific breeds.

To conclude 
Having seen the power of Genetics at the grass roots across many villages in India, we are optimistic on the outlook of farm income growth, based on Milk farming. Hence, our mission to raise Farm Income led by use to technological tools such as Genetics.

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