Animal husbandry in West Bengal supplements family income in rural areas and also generates gainful employment, particularly among the landless labourers, small and marginal farmers. The mixed crop-livestock farming system is prevalent in West Bengal as a means of livelihood.
Animal husbandry is classified under agriculture and allied activities of the primary sector. The rearing of livestock is a major part of animal husbandry.
(I). LIVESTOCK IN WEST BENGAL
The livestock in West Bengal contributes about 4.41% of the States Domestic Product. Livestock includes rearing of cow, buffalo, pig, poultry, goat, sheep, etc. Livestock is reared for the demand for milk, meat and eggs.
West Bengal ranks 3rd in the production of milk, meat and eggs in India. As per the 20th Livestock Census 2019 released by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, there are a total livestock population of 37.4 million (ranked 4th after Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh) increased by 23.32%, 19.0 million cattle (increased by 15.18%), 0.63 million buffaloes, 0.95 million sheep, 16.28 million goats and 0.54 million pigs in West Bengal. The poultry population is 77.3 million in the state. The Yak population is 213 (in number) and was decreased from the previous census.
Major breeds of cattle in the state consist of Siri cattle, Sahiwal cattle, Gir cattle, Crossbred cattle and Murrah buffalo. Indigenous cattle consist of 15.68 million and Exotic/Crossbred cattle 3.34 million of the livestock population.
The state runs cattle farms are in Kalyani (Nadia), Harringhata (Nadia), Salboni (West Midnapore), Santaldihi (Purulia), Suri (Birbhum) and Rangitpur (Bankura). Other farms are being developed in both the public and private sector. Some important livestock in West Bengal are as follows:
➢ GOAT: West Bengal has a superior variety of goat known as Black Bengal Goat. It is famous for its quality meat and skin. Goat farms are located at Kalyani (Nadia), Bishnupur (Bankura), Kotulpur (Bankura) and Suri (Birbhum).
9,765 goats have been distributed by the Chief Minister of West Bengal in the financial year 2020-21 (up to December 2020).
➢ SHEEP: Vllest Bengal has two varieties of sheep i.e. Garole sheep and Banpala sheep rearing is not very common due to the humid climate and the landscape is also not very suitable. Sheep farms are located at Kalyani (Nadia), Lokpur (Bankura) and Rangitpur (Bankura).
➢ Pigs: The big breeding variety of pigs reared in West Bengal is known as Ghungroo. Pig farm is located at Harringhata.
(II). POULTRY PRODUCTION IN WEST BENGAL
Poultry production in West Bengal has been increased due to the major upgrade of different livestock and poultry products.
There are upgraded poultry farms in Harringhata (Nadia), Tollyganj, Ranaghat, Domkal, Raiganj, Malda and Jalpaiguri. The West Bengal Poultry Federation Organisation organises Paschim Banga Poultry Mela which is the biggest poultry Mela (fair) in India. Poultry consist of 53% of the livestock population. The state supplies 13% of egg produced in India and falls in the top 5 egg-producing states. Moreover, the state also imports eggs from Andhra Pradesh. The egg production increased by 8% in the financial year 2020-21 (up to December 2020).
Annual Egg production has been increased to 973.5 crores (143.31% increased in 09 years i.e., compared to the financial year 2010-11). The government of the State has established 3 Modern Poultry Farms at Medinipur, Suri and Haringhata.
Annual Meat production has been increased to 9.03 lakh MT (56.5% increased in 09 years i.e., compared to the financial year 2010-11).
(III). DAIRY SECTOR IN WEST BENGAL
The dairy sector in West Bengal grooming in milk procurement and processing through milk cooperatives and dairies.
Per capita availability of milk in West Bengal is 161 grams per day which is lower than the national availability of 337 grams per day per person. Among all the districts Bardharnan has the highest availability while South Dinajpur has the lowest. Milk production is largely done by the unorganised sector. The state of West Bengal has huge requirements for milk as its people consume a lot of milk-based products in the form of cheese, yoghurt, cream, butter and sweets.
As per the Economic Survey 2019-20, the production of milk is 59.68 lakh MT per annum (33.45% increased in 09 years i.e., compared to the financial year 2010-11) but only 2% of this is supplied by the organised sector i.e. the government sector. This massive shortfall is compensated by the private sector that is unorganised.
The State Government has established a new Embryo Transfer Laboratory for Cattle and Buffalo at Salboni (in Paschim Medinipur) and one Bull Mother Farm at State Livestock Farm (in Kalyani) to fulfil the growing demand of Bulls for Frozen Semen production.
New District Milk Union “Tamralipta Milk Union” has been established in Purba Medinipur.
(IV). ANIMAL RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENTS IN WEST BENGAL
The state of West Bengal has a vast network to take care of the various aspects of animal husbandry. Institutions working under this department are as following:
|Paschim Banga Go-Sampad Bikash Sanstha (PBGSBS), Kolkata||Cattle and buffalo breeding, livestock insurance|
|West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences (WBUAFS), Kolkata||Veterinary Education and Research, established in 1995|
|West Bengal Cooperative Milk Producer’s Federation Ltd. (WBCMPF), Kolkata||Milk Marketing|
|WB Dairy and Poultry Development Corporation Ltd. (DAIRPOUL), Kolkata||Animal Feed Production, established in 1969.|
|WB Livestock Development Corporation Ltd. (WBLDC), Kolkata||Meat and Meat products marketing, established in 1974|
The state has 185 veterinary hospitals and many animal health centres. In addition, it runs 3 artificial insemination centres in the state.
(V). FISHERIES IN WEST BENGAL
The state of West Bengal is the 2nd highest producer of ﬁshes after Andhra Pradesh. Nadia district is the highest production of freshwater ﬁshes. Fisheries in West Bengal is divided into two types:
(01) Fresh Water Fisheries: These ﬁsheries are based on freshwater i.e., in ponds, rivers, canals reservoirs and lakes. Pisciculture is done in reservoirs and multi-purpose projects. Rohu, Katla, Murrels, Prawns, Catfish, Mullets are the freshwater ﬁshes.
(02) Marine Fishery: These ﬁsheries are based on saltwater i.e., in off-shore, deep sea areas delta regions, estuaries of Sundarban and Oxbow lakes of Southern Bengal. Pomfret, Hilsa, Bhetki, Prawn and Tapsi are the popular varieties of ﬁshes reared. Fishing is the greatest source of livelihood for people living in Sundarbans.
➢ Diversiﬁed fishery resources are seen in West Bengal varying from coastal to cold water aquatic resources. The state government imports the requirements from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The largest ﬁshery, training and skill development centre is at Barasagar Dighi Model Fish Farms in Malda is spread over 250 acres of area. It is also developed as a centre for aquaculture and ﬁsh tourism.
➢ Kulia in Kalyani is another research centre for inland fisheries.
➢ Junput ( in East Midnapore), Namkhana and Digha are research centres and ﬁsheries for brackish and marine water ﬁshes.
■ SCHEMES AND INITIATIVES OF STATE GOVERNMENT
In order to promote animal husbandry as an alternative source of earning, the State Government has taken various initiatives. These are as follows:
➢ The West Bengal Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited is a state-level organisation, registered in 1983. At present 16 milk unions are operating under it.
Mother Dairy (Kolkata), Himal Dairy (Darjeeling), Feeder Dairy (Murshidabad) and Metro Dairy (North 24 Parganas) are important suppliers of milk.
➢ The West Bengal Poultry Federation Constituted in 2009 provides an infrastructure for opening broiler poultry and develops wholesale, retail marketing facilities. It also organises the ‘International Poultry Fair’ in Kolkata every year.
➢ Distribution of chicks/ducklings to women Self-Help Groups and BPL families.
➢ The state provides fodder farms e.g. Harringhata and Kalyani farms in Nadia. It also organises animal health camps and entrepreneurship development camps in animal husbandry.
➢ Under West Bengal Fisheries Policy 2014, the State Government lease out available land and water resources on soft terms. It also provides consultancy services from ICAR (Indian Council for Agricultural Research) for inland fisheries and CMFRI (Central Marine Fishery Research Institute) for marine/saltwater fisheries. The policy also aims to set up fishermen’s cooperative societies and Self-Help Groups.
➢ The State Government launched the scheme Bishes Go-Sampad Bikash Abhiyan which provides health coverage, nutrition support, artificial insemination facilities, semen bank, etc. in different blocks of the districts. The State Government plains to set up veterinary institutes and build more animal farms.
➢ To combat the issue of the declining trend of Hilsa catch over the past decade, a dedicated Hilsa Conservation and Research Centre (HCRC) at Sultanpur, Diamond Harbour has been established.