Animal husbandry has assumed a much broader role in the economy. It is an integral part of expanding and diversified agriculture. This sector is the source of additional employment, especially for marginal and small farmers and agricultural labourers by offering subsidiary occupation. India is endowed with the largest livestock population in the world.
It accounts for 57 per cent of the world’s buffalo population and 15 per cent of the cattle population. India has one- half of the buffaloes, one-fifth of the cattle and one- sixth of the total goat population of the world, its position is very unsatisfactory in animal products as the quality is very poor.
India contributes only an insignificant proportion to the world’s total production of mutton, pork and chicken. Livestock rearing is highly neglected. It is subsidiary activity to crop production. Acute shortages of feeds and fodder, poor grazing and environmental conditions, besides a poor genetic pool are the factors responsible for the poor state. As a result of very low yields the total contribution of livestock to the country’s economy is not commensurate with number of animals.