Sustainable livestock farming

Dr Konjengbam Rashbehari Singh
Contd from previous issue
Controlling zoonoses could substantially reduce the human disease burden and support the livelihoods of poor farmers. Improper management and poor welfare render animals susceptible to parasites and diseases. As a result, many young animals die of disease before they can lactate, reach slaughter weight or reproduce. This lowers yields, increases impacts and decreases farmers ability to select the best breeding stock. Awareness programmes regarding scientific rearing of animals and financing will help the farmers to improve husbandry practices and produce more animals. Some of the alternative feeds encourage the microbes in the rumen to grow quickly and provide better nutrition to the animals and thus boost the productivity of the animals. In India, a water fern (Azola caroliniana) cultivated in local ponds provides extra protein to cattle and goat. An enzyme in red clover (Trifolium pratense), widely grown in temperate countries, increases ruminants’ ability to utilize dietary protein.    
Global agenda for sustainable livestock
Established in the year 2011, the Global Agenda for Sustainable   Livestock (GASL) is an international multi-stakeholder partnership (MSP), of which FAO is an important member, with the vision to enhance the contribution of the livestock sector to sustainable development.  It provides an important global platform to demonstrate solutions and best practices in the livestock sector and contributes to the achievement of the sustainable development goals of the UN Agenda 2030. The GASL aims at catalyzing multi-stakeholder action to improve the livestock sector’s use of natural resources whilst ensuring its contribution to food security and livelihood.    To ensure sustainable livestock production, it is needed to address key environmental, social, and economic challenges such as growing scarcity of natural resources, climate change, widespread poverty, food insecurity, and global threats to animal and human health.     
Conclusion : Livestock production systems need to increase output of animal protein sustainably by implementation of knowledge and technology. Society needs to have confidence that animals were raised in a humane and environmentally acceptable manner and that the quality and safety of the animal protein are acceptable for the consumers.   The writer is Member, Manipur State Veterinary Council, Imphal and Retired Deputy Director (Extension Education), Central Agricultural University, Imphal. Email:  [email protected]