Livestock is the most critical and underestimated component of sustainable rural livelihoods. It provides multiple benefits. It enhances the household nutritional access – in the form of milk, meat, eggs etc. It provides resilience by serving as ready ’ATM’s in critical times. Livestock provides the critical link in eco friendly farming systems – in manure production, in crop protection. eg. use of cow dung for manurial purposes and urine for preparation of biologicals. The value of local breeds, in terms of their resilience, low cost of maintenance, is simply ignored. Also, the industrial mode of livestock management with high volumes and hidden subsidies, the large scale ecological damage they cause, is not discussed enough.
This issue puts together some of the ground experiences which are sustainable. These experiences reflect the rich biodiversity… the opportunity they offer to lessen environmental damage, for sustainable futures. It is extremely difficult and challenging to put together working alternatives. For this, we are extremely grateful to those who contribute articles, creating new hope and visibility to unsung initiatives.
9 Local practices conserve livestock breeds
15 Gender and policies in livestock production – Issues and opportunities
M Manjula, R Rengalakshmi and K Thachinamurthy
17 Livestock rearing in the Indian context
22 Livestock – The engine and inspiration of mountain economy
R K Maikhuri, L S Rawat, P C Phondani, Ajay Maletha and Y M Bahuguna
25 Local communities, livestock and livelihoods
Amandeep Singh and Pranav Kumar
30 Cattle shed management for better soil health
Sujan Amgai and Salik Ram Paudel
34 Pastoral Parliament – A platform to be heard and seen
Monika Agarwal and Jessica Duncan