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‘Livestock for Development’ in Resource-Constrained Environment: Would Induction of External Buffalo Breeds Help?

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Nature, Economy and Society


Even the harsh environments stressed for water and biomass, dependent on commons with low-input production systems, are not exempt. Performance of such breeds has been a serious concern in these programmes as any mortality and nonperformance can further increase debt burden of the poor. Also, the potential of nonrecognized local breeds well adapted to the scarcity cycles in dry land areas is not seriously explored. These are considered ‘nondescript’ and therefore, do not qualify for support in the government programmes. Located in this context, the chapter documents and analyses the performance of external Murrah buffaloes inducted into semiarid regions in Andhra Pradesh. The study also brings out the potential of various types or groups within the local breeds and presents their productivity traits.

Comparative analysis of performance of these groups of local buffaloes with that of inducted Murrah buffaloes brings out the potential of the local ‘nondescript’ buffaloes. In a situation where induction of external Murrah buffaloes leaves behind substantial debt burden and despair, results of the analysis make a case for recognizing the local breeds and for shifting the focus of livestock development and poverty programmes towards improving the fodder and feed resources in the commons and fallows, creating access to water and to improve management systems. A combination of such inputs along with selections from among the local breeds might be a better strategy for development of buffalo production systems in the semiarid regions.

The authors are grateful to Shahin Begum Giyas for sharing primary data on characterizing the local buffalo population collected as a part of her larger interest to promote recognition of the local breeds. The rest of the data, analysis and views expressed in the chapter are entirely of the authors. The authors acknowledge support from the Ford Foundation, India, as a part of the Revitalizing Rainfed Agriculture programme.

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  1. 1.

    The chapter mainly focuses on arid and semiarid regions of the India—broadly termed as dry lands.

  2. 2.

    For example, it is estimated in study of arid and semiarid areas that the grazing hours of livestock vary from 4.65 to 6.05 in Tumkur and Anantapur districts, respectively (Mishra et al. 2010).

  3. 3.

    See Guidelines of the scheme ‘National Project on Cattle and Buffalo breeding’, Department of Animal Husbandry, Government of India (

  4. 4.

    A study based in Andhra Pradesh by International Livestock Research Institute concludes that ‘farm with livestock’ is the best route to escape poverty. The study (Shaheen Akter 2008) provides various dimensions of livestock contribution to escaping poverty.

  5. 5.

    For an overview on the subject, see Köhler-Rollefson (2008).

  6. 6.

    The primary data on the productivity traits and characterization of local breeds were shared by Shahin Begum Giyas; the authors acknowledge her support in this regard. The analysis and views are of the authors.

  7. 7.

    See Sainath (2011) of similar outcome in Vidharbha with crossbred cattle, Köhler-Rollefson (2009) narrates an experience in Rajasthan.

  8. 8.

  9. 9.

  10. 10.

    The authors gratefully acknowledge the knowledge contribution of various buffalo farmers in the study villages of Alladurg, Bidkanne, Chaudarpally, Dosapally, Gadipeddapur, Gandlabaitanda, Gangwar, Gollagudam, Humnapur, IB tanda, Jagriyal, Kondapur, Kothlapur, Maktavenkatapuram, Pocharam, Pothirddypally, R.Itkyal, Saipeta, T. Lingampally, Tatipally, Togarpally and Usrikapally.

  11. 11.

    The authors wish to acknowledge inputs from Venkateswarlu, a retired senior official of the Animal Husbandry Department, Andhra Pradesh.

  12. 12.

    Sainath’s (2011) article “Cowed down by the Prime Minister” gives a graphical account of this process in Vidarbha region.

  13. 13.

    See Sirohi and Michaelowa (2007) for details. In buffaloes, access to water is the only way of managing heat stress and availability and access to water is under a serious threat in dry lands.

  14. 14.

    SAPPLP program of FAO has made a detailed documentation of such examples. See Good Practices Brief on the subject at A larger experience of regenerating 80,000 acres of common lands in arid district of Anantapur also exemplifies the potential; see See Parthasarathy Rao and Hall (2003) for an overview of increasing the potential of crop residues in crop–livestock systems.

  15. 15.

    Sharma et al. (2005) provides a detailed account of in situ improving the indigenous breeds that shows large potential.


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S, B., Adusumilli, R., Rao, A. (2016). ‘Livestock for Development’ in Resource-Constrained Environment: Would Induction of External Buffalo Breeds Help?. In: Ghosh, N., Mukhopadhyay, P., Shah, A., Panda, M. (eds) Nature, Economy and Society. Springer, New Delhi.

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