Bring out the importance of animal husbandry, fisheries and horticulture as a source of diversification.

Importance of Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry is the most important non-farm employment in India. It is also known as Livestock Farming. Poultry, cattle and goats/sheep are the important components of livestock farming in India. Most of the rural families carry out livestock farming together with crop farming in order to increase their income. The share of livestock farming is comparatively higher in the semi arid and arid areas than the irrigated areas. This is because the arid areas have lesser access to irrigation facilitiesand thereby, crop farming is less feasible. Thus, in other words, it can be said that livestock farming provides sustainable livelihood to the people in the semi arid and arid regions where farming can’t be performed well. Further, capital investment in livestock farming is comparatively less than that in crop farming. In addition, livestock farming is an important source of employment for rural women. Presently, animal husbandry is the most important source of alternative employment, employing approximately 70 million small and marginal farmers. Besides providing employment, livestock farming has resulted in increased production of milk, eggs, meat, wool and other by-products, enhancing the consumption bundle qualitatively and nutritionally. 

Importance of Fisheries

‘Fisheries’ are an important source of livelihood in the coastal states such as Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The fishing community in India depends on water bodies- both inland and marine water bodies. Inland sources include rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams, while, the marine sources include seas and oceans. The increasing efforts by the state governments have attracted funds in this sector, boosting the production. But this community remains one of the backward communities in the country due to low per capita earnings, lack of labour mobility to other sectors, illiteracy and indebtedness. Despite a significant segment engaged, this sector contributes only 1.4% to India’s total GDP. 

Importance of Horticulture

Horticulture is emerging as an important source of livelihood in the rural areas. Horticultural crops include fruits, vegetables, medicinal and aromatic plants and flowers. Presently, India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables that includes mangoes, bananas, coconuts, cashew nuts and variety of species. There has been a considerable rise in the income levels of families engaged in horticultural production. The increase in horticultural production has lowered the vulnerability of small and marginal farmers. This has provided a gateway of opportunities for employment for women. It generates employment for 19% of India’s total labour force. In contrast to fishing, Horticulture does not suffer from ecological and environmental problem. Hence, horticulture must be promoted with sufficient investment and infrastructure.

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