I wish to submit my proposed MSc Dissertation for Examination

Livestock Sustainablity

Livestock development with urbanisation: A case study of the Eastern India region

Author: S. Panigrahi

Date of completion of research: 1996








3.1. Government policies for the livestock sector

3.2. Urbanisation and population pressure on the choice of livestock

production for support


4.1. Cultural aspects

4.2. Dairy cow as a resource

4.3. Nutritional value of milk

4.4. Urban demand for dairy products

4.5. Milk supply from urban farms

4.6. Domestic milk production in urban areas

4.7. Dung, a useful by-product

4.8. Public health, environment and resource management implications

4.9. Supply of milk from rural areas and womens' involvement

4.10. Operation Flood

4.11. Mycotoxins in feed: aflatoxin M1 in milk


5.1. Poultry in economic development

5.2. Poultry as a resource

5.3. Urban demand for poultry products

5.4. Nutritional value, tastes and health issues

5.5. Availability of poultry products for poor

5.6. Income generation, marketing and resource management implications

5.7. Supply of poultry products - the trend towards intensive production


5.8. Supply of poultry products from small-scale peri-urban and rural

production systems

5.9. Mycotoxins in feed: transmission to poultry products

5.10. Poultry-related enterprises by poor women


6.1. Beneficiaries in livestock development strategy

6.2. Livestock production in the major urban centres

6.3. Resource management in sustainable agriculture

6.4. Livestock production in the small towns

6.5. Livestock production within mixed farming systems

6.6. Cows and buffaloes for dual purpose in mixed farming systems

6.7. The manure economy

6.8. Gender concerns






I hereby declare that this dissertation has not been submitted, either in the same or different forms, to this or any other university for a degree. I also declare that this dissertation does not draw from any other work prepared under consultancy or other professional undertaking, by myself or jointly with other authors in any way other than that duly and explicitly acknowledged herewith.



This report was stimulated by an earlier project identification study undertaken by the author for the Department of International development (DFID) entitled, 'The effect of urbanisation on womens’ role in livestock and livestock related activities in Eastern India (1993). In the present study the scope was broadened to examine the character of the urban livestock production systems in relation to environmental, socio-economic, cultural, gender and human health issues with the objective of identifying paths for sustainable development. For illustration of an aspect of human health issues, the dissertation also reproduces data on aflatoxins found in urban milk samples from an animal nutrition research project undertaken by the author between 1992 and 1996 entitled, Mycotoxins in Ruminant Feeds' (see Final Technical Report R     ; and paper Philllips et al. (1996) Mycopathologia,).


The author is grateful to his parents, Dr Gopinath Panigrahi and the late Mrs Sarojini G. Panigrahi, and to his father-in-law Dr Ramanath Praharaj, for valuable discussions on cultural and marketing issues during the period of data collection in this study. The author is also indebted to the Natural Resources Institute (The University of Greenwich, Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, United Kingdom) for financial support and study leave to enable this dissertation to be written and other courses for the MSc to be completed.




This case study describes the general development of the livestock sector in Eastern India with increasing urbanisation, examining specific issues related to the the character of production systems and associated environmental (including public health) and socio-economic (including gender) concerns. Whilst it is recognised that the livestock sector can be most-meaningfully analysed by providing quantitative data to support qualitative judgements, there is unreliable quantitative data available concerning the aspects studied.

Further, urbanisation is a rapid process in India with it's recent growth rate of over 6 per cent per annum, and further, in a democratic developing country it's character often change drastically when a new political party takes over in local government. This case study has, therefore, been restricted to a qualitative analysis under the general framework that the demand for the major livestock products increase as the urban population with its greater purchasing power and general economic activity increase. Within this framework an attempt has been made to highlight the priority areas for research and development to meeting the increased demand in an environmentally sustainable manner and in an sociologically-acceptable manner in relation to livestock production and marketing . Urbanisation and population pressure, by their contribution to potential demand, are the two most powerful forces currently affecting food and agricultural systems and through

this the rural farming communities in developing countries. The common national policy objective of meeting the urban demand for certain foods is of major importance when developing a research and development strategy and livestock development policies, as is the socio-cultural background within which strategies are set and direct interventions operate.


The high nutritional value and diverse range of secondary products that can be prepared from milk and poultry, coupled with their relative ease of production and marketing, make them (and to a lesser degree, marine) of greatest importance when considering urban demand. There are also significant parallels in the development of these livestock industries in India. Urbanisation has increased the demand for milk, with the result that intensive dairy operations have been established by small farmers in the urban centres. This development has been assisted by the new feed resources, such as milling by-products and household and marketing wastes, that now accumulate in urban areas. The dairy units produce some undesirable side effects, most notably the unhygienic conditions they create and contamination of milk with the carcinogenic biotransformed fungal metabolite aflatoxin M1. Poultry has assumed a strategic role in relation to economic development and urban food supplies. This has implications for natural resource management, peri-urban and rural production systems, nutrition of low-income groups, and employment opportunities in relation to production, distribution and marketing.


Research is needed on the nutritive value of urban feed resources for livestock and their possible harmful effects on environmental pollution, animal production and human health. Since both dairy and poultry industries face the hazard of mycotoxins in feed, this is a particular area for attention. Relative to poultry meat, the production of red meat is of lower priority for research and development; however, meat utilisation as a by-product of carcasses from urban dairy farms plays an important role as human food or animal feed.


On the supply side, more emphasis should be placed on developing dairy and poultry production in those smaller towns which have easy access to rural feeds and to the markets of the major urban centres. In particular, livestock production should be intensified with small-scale agro-processing activities. Labour shortages are causing these to shift away from villages and to adopt more efficient intermediate scale milling technologies. Research and development is also required to introduce and intensify poultry production as a component of mixed farming systems to take advantage of poultry litter in addition to the primary outputs. Whilst cultural factors and the heavy work required for ploughing paddy fields may preclude the development of a dual purpose breed of cow for mixed farming, the scope for developing a water buffalo breed for draught power and milk production in villages needs to be examined. In breed development, particular attention needs to be paid to problems of reproduction in buffaloes and to reducing the labour requirements for tending this species in mixed farming.


Poor and landless women are often the most disadvantaged groups in less favoured regions of developing countries. Because of the traditional role of women in animal husbandry, livestock development would provide additional economic opportunities for them, particularly in dairy and poultry production and marketing.




3.1. Government policies for the livestock sector

Two common objectives of the governments of developing countries that have implications for livestock development are to provide cheap food to low-income consumers, particularly in urban areas, and to increase the availability of certain animal products through improvements in the efficiency of domestic livestock production. Governments are particularly keen to attain these objectives in ways that improve

employment opportunities for poor and landless people, including women, in rural and urban areas.


Plant foods are generally of lower nutritional value in terms of protein digestibility, balance of amino acids and the availability of micro-nutrients. The value of animal protein in the diet goes far beyond its total concentration in the diet because it contains amino acids essential to human health, and which plant foods lack: even small amounts of animal products correct amino acid deficiencies in diets that are cereal-based, permitting more of the total protein to be utilised. The importance of this for young children is widely acknowledged (Winrock International, 1992). In particular, animal products supply essential structural lipids for good functioning of the human body. Many governments have, therefore, intervened to increase the availability of livestock products in their towns and cities. For instance, Pakistan banned the export of eggs in the 1970s (Gittinger, 1989) and meat and milk exports were banned for a period in Latin America (Jarvis, 1986). Such interventions can, however, produce far-reaching effects on the agricultural sector, and in particular on the livestock production systems that develop in the urban and rural areas.


An increasing number of developing countries are implementing structural adjustment policies, but many have resisted World Bank and International Monetary Fund pressure to abolish subsidies that directly or indirectly reduce the cost of food in urban areas. This stand is taken for one or more of the following reasons: to reduce inflation; to protect vulnerable groups from malnutrition; as part of an industrial strategy to reduce food and nutrition costs; a fear of the civil disturbances that might ensue from a rise in food prices, or the electoral consequences of removing existing subsidies in democratic countries.


Apart from importing food, governments also set growth targets for certain foods, and devote considerable effort to achieving them. For example, according to Panda (1992), by the year 2000, India plans to use research, education, training and developmental strategies to raise annual egg production to 30 billion (from the current 27 billion) and broiler production to 300 million (from the current 250 million). In so doing, India aims toprovide job opportunities for an estimated 500,000 people. Another related objective of developing countries is to increase the efficiency of resource utilisation in livestock development, which implies the need to increase the supply of livestock products from limited feed resources.


Research and Development strategies, most obviously, need to be consistent with the livestock development objectives and policies of the governments of developing countries, not least because of their consequences on farmer goals and circumstances. It is, therefore,

not surprising that an important stated consideration in the approach of the International Centre for Corn and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) in Mexico to Farming Systems Research is the development of technology for farmers that ultimately meets the national

policy objective of the 'provision of cheap food for low-income urban consumers'.


3.2. Urbanisation and population pressure on the choice of livestock production for support

Economic growth and the continuing, and almost certainly, irreversible demographic changes relating to urbanisation and increasing population in developing countries affect the demand for livestock products in several ways: a larger number of people purchase animal products; existing people purchase more animal products because their income has risen; there is greater market concentration for which the logistics of supply become important; and there is increasing sophistication in terms of the processed products in

demand. This increasing demand has focused research and developmental effort on those livestock products that have potential for meeting the nutritional needs of the low to middle income groups at a low economic cost. Holmes (1977) calculated that milk and egg production gave the highest yield of protein per hectare of cultivated crops (approximately 138 kg) with milk giving the highest yield of edible energy (11500 MJ) compared with eggs' 8900 MJ. These are much higher than for other livestock species. It is, however apparent that the climatic, natural resource attributes, population density and consumption characteristics will alter the product mix that warrant attention in different countries. In the Eastern India region, milk, poultry and marine products have dominated the agenda. The largest amount of calories in human diets is now supplied by eggs and poultry meat, followed by milk and meat of various animals, in descending order (Pathak and Balain, 1994). Significantly, because of their balance of nutrients, milk and eggs, to different degrees, are the only commonly available foods with the potential for countering micro-nutrient deficiency diseases in semi-arid areas with limited water resources for fish cultivation. In this dissertation, the demand for and supply of milk and poultry products in the Eastern India region (Orissa, West Bengal and Bangladesh) are examined in relation totheir nutritional roles, cultural issues, health problems generated from production systems that have evolved to meet the growing urban demand, and the effects of these changes on income earning opportunities for the poor, especially women.




4.1. Cultural aspects

Livestock development cannot be viewed in isolation from socio-cultural issues, as farm animals are often viewed as being part of the household. This factor is of crucial importance when considering institutional interventions and developmental strategies that involve the introduction of new technologies in the more traditional societies. Nowhere is the cultural aspect of livestock more important than in relation to the traditions associated with dairy and draught cattle management in India, where the population consists of approximately 80% Hindus. In Hindu society, the philosophies of religion, agriculture, nutrition and economics are inter-meshed.


Not only is the consumption of beef prohibited in Hinduism, even the beating of cattle, for example, to drive them away from one's vegetable patch or during herding is not tolerated. Traditionally, the higher caste Hindus, who also set the norms for the society, were also

reluctant to work on cow hides for the same reason, and the shoe industry was, therefore, dominated by Muslims or low caste Hindus who, as 'mochis', also repaired footwear along roadsides. Indian society was agricultural, but significantly, one in which a sizeable proportion of the population were pure vegetarians (or preferred plant-based foods to meat) because they practised 'ahimsa', ie non-violence towards animals (also regarded as a sin by Jainas and Buddhists). Milk, with its balanced nutrients, was therefore a vital item of food. The inter-relationships between the cow, the bull and the bullock in terms of the balance of numbers of each animal type needed for equilibrium in such a society that was also dependent on agriculture for subsistence, needs expert study and is beyond the scope of this paper. However, it is important to note the following. The affection and regard Hindus feel for this group of animals is inculcated from an early age as the philosophy has been incorporated into the religions and the way of life. It is possible that this was seen as a way of engendering respect towards animals whose welfare was considered vital to a vegetarian and subsistence society. As humans need a continual supply of food, milk provided a regular source of nourishment from the same animals. This is paralleled in pastoralism in Tropical Africa where large cattle were rarely slaughtered for meat (Jankne, 1982b); the quantity of feed that produces 1 kg of liveweight gain in cattle can produce 8 litres of milk from a cow giving 3000 litres of milk per year, without sacrificing the animal. Thus, the consumption of beef was prohibited because milk was required as an item of food of high nutritional value that could be produced cheaply , and bullocks were requiredto plough the fields and provide draught power for transport. Some bulls were, of course, required for breeding purposes.


The importance given to bullocks is reflected in one of the important Hindu prayers, 'Dasa Avatar', in which God is depicted as a ploughman (Hey Keshava Dhruta Haladhara Rupa, Jaya Jagdisha Hare), among nine other forms ('avatar' being the descent of a Hindu diety in a visible form). Lord Krishna's elder brother, Balaram, is also seen as a ploughman in the Indian epic, the 'Mahabharatta', and his birthday is celebrated by the worship of the bullock during the festival of 'Rakhsha Purnima' in August. The bullock may also be worshipped on the 9th day of Kartika (mid-October to mid-November in the English calendar). The worship of the bull is even more ancient and Hindus are obliged to feed any passing bull, if this was convenient. The bull is revered because it is ridden by Lord Shiva (Maheshwara), reflecting His power as the 'Destroyer' in the Trimurthi (the Hindu Trinity), with Brahma being the 'Procreator', and Vishnu, the 'Saviour'. Significantly, Lord Shiva is also worshipped as Lingaraj, the God of procreation.


Hindus also developed an ancient milk culture that was associated with their attachment to the 'sacred' cow. This derived from the fact that Lord Krishna was a cowherd in 'Mahabharatta', and significantly, his favourite childhood food was cream ('makhan'), a subject of many of His childhood pranks, for which He was, incidently, loved by village women. The cow is much worshipped in the Hindu calendar, for example during Dola Purnima (in March); this day signifies Basanta Rasa (the love-play of Lord Krishna with the ladies). The cow is worshipped as a 'mother' by Hindus. A cow named Kamadhenu, was tended by the rishi, Vasistha: according to Hindu mythology it gave milk to everyone at any moment that it was needed. Cows were, thus, regarded as a prize possession by rishis, who were coveted by kings and emperors. The rishis and priests of the past asked kings, emperors and rich men for cows as gifts after blessing them on ceremonial

occasions. Each cow was valued at her weight in gold! The literature of medieval India is replete with stories and poems on cows and bullocks. In the Bhagavat Gita, the creation of earth is depicted as arising from the ocean of milk (Kshira Samudra), from which all

plants and animals emerged. This ocean is the birth place of Goddess Lakhsmi, and Lord Krishna also took rest there (Ananta Shayana), when free from work.


Milk and butter ghee became important items in religious and marriage ceremonies, and other rituals that punctuate the Hindu way of life. For example, butter ghee is burnt during some of the rituals, the act signifying purification. A vital offering to the Gods during

worship and with which icons are sometimes bathed, is 'punchamrut', seemingly the origin of the rather inappropriate Western alcoholic party drink cocktail 'punch'. Symbolically, in Hindu tradition punchamrut represents the best natural food that can be offered to the

Gods. This is also apparent from its good taste and high nutritional value, its five ingredients being milk, yoghurt, butter ghee, honey and jaggery. In daily worship, the offering (termed 'bhog') normally consists of fruits in a milk base. Dung is itself a 'sacred' item, as no religious ceremony is complete without it. It is pasted on the platform on which icons are placed (gobistha, comprising cow dung, urine, honey, ghee and another). Cow dung is also mixed with earth and pasted on the walls of mud houses in villages; it is not clear whether this practice has a religious significance, or posseses some scientific merit due, for example to to the dung's antibacterial or wall cementing properties.


Thus, cows, bullocks and bulls are associated with the religious life of Hindus and are objects of worship and love. This has consequences for the farming systems of the region and need to be considered in livestock developmental strategies.


4.2. Dairy cow as a resource

In 1983/84, bovines (cattle and buffaloes) contributed 6.3% to the Gross Domestic Product of India, and this constituted 76% of the gross value of all livestock products. The gross value of different bovine products and their share in the total were: milk - Rs 912.5 million (84%); dung - Rs 142.9 million (13%); beef - Rs 19.7 million (1.8%); and hides - Rs 14.6 million (1.3%) (Mishra and Sharma, 1990). The dairy cow not only provides milk and associated dairy products, but also meat (beef), some of which is exported to Bangladesh and some consumed by tourists and indigeneous Christians and Muslims, who together represent approximately 15 per cent of the population in India. The cow is also the major source of hide for the leather industry (shoes and garments): in 1985-86, the export of leather and foot wear contributed Rs 45 million to India's foreign exchange earnings (Mishra and Sharma, 1990). Although slaughter house waste can be converted into valuable meat and bone or bone meal for the poultry industry, the state of this industry in India is unclear. It is, however, unlikely to be well developed for several reasons. Firstly, it is only in recent years that 'spent' cows have been generated in large quantities from peri-urban dairy enterprises with their adoption of increasingly intensive husbandry practices. Secondly, efficient meat and bone meal plants require high investment of capital which was in short supply prior to the recent liberalisation of macro-economic policies in India. Thirdly, slaughtering of cows, being a taboo subject among Hindus for aforementioned cultural reasons, was carried out in Muslim-dominated areas; with such marketing constraints, the organisation of the trade isunlikely to be optimal purely with respect to the economic value of the resource. The dung from bovine animals is a significant feature of nutrient cycling in farming systems where it plays a vital role in maintaining soil texture and fertility. Dung is also an important fuel as dung cakes for the poor in rural and urban India; and as mentioned above, it is pasted on the walls of mud houses. In some urban households, the manure slurry is used to generate biogas to be used for cooking and lighting; upto 1990, 1.24 million biogas plants were operational in India (a figure increasing continuously). In warm climates, dung from two cows can produce sufficient biogas for a family's cooking and lighting needs. At present, 33 per cent of bovine dung is used as fuel in the form of dung cake (Pathak and Balain, 1994).


4.3. Nutritional value of milk

Milk supplies protein, energy, vitamins and minerals, and perhaps most notably, calcium. The importance of milk for babies, as a complete food, and for infants and children is well known. Milk is also an important part of the diet of adults. However, a majority of adults in certain populations that do not have a tradition of milk consumption become deficient in the enzyme lactase (eg, 97% of the population of Thailand), a genetically inherited trait, that may make them intolerant of milk (Stryer, 1981) leading to stomach and intestinal problems. The recent technological development of soya milk is a response to this allergy.  Lactose intolerance increases with age, but significantly in terms of consumption, products such as cheese, ghee, butter and fermented milk contain litte or no lactose (LPDC, 1992). It is unclear whether milk fortified with the enzyme lactase (eg the commercial product 'Lactolite' in the UK) will develop in due course.


4.4. Urban demand for dairy products

In India, because of its high nutritional value for the young, some milk is supplied by autonomous government organisations at subsidised rates, so as to enable purchase by the urban poor. Apart from baby foods, milk is also consumed by people of all ages as a drink; in tea; as yoghurt, butter, butter ghee, cheese, curd (or 'channa') - from which paneer is made, condensed milk or 'rabadi'; in dessert preparations, such as puddings; and in delicacies, such as ice cream, 'lassi', 'kulfi', 'basanti' and 'shrikhand'. A fuller range of dairy products in India has been summarised by Sangwan and Sharma (1984) and NDRI (1986).


Cheese and yoghurt are essentially simple methods of preserving milk that can be carried out on a small-scale in the home. On an industrial scale, milk can be preserved as milk powder, which is now available in many villages, and is making a major contribution to health of rural children. The long shelf life of milk powder also allows nutritious and easy-to-prepare delicacies, such as 'gulab jamun' to be prepared in the home. Several commercial spray-dried milk products are available for people of all ages, including milk chocolates, 'Complan', 'Bournvita', 'Horlicks' and 'Chocolate Horlicks'. This vast array of secondary products that can be prepared is due to the special physico-chemical properties of milk: these cooking properties add to the demand for milk generally.


A group of dairy products of major economic significance is sweet meats (made from 'khoa') which in urban areas provide an important source of nourishment for workers in the informal sector during the course of their daily work. Sweet meats also play a socio-cultural role: for example, it is taken as a gift when visiting friends, much as one might take a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine when visiting friends in Western countries. It is also used to celebrate happy events, such as a marriage engagement or success in examinations, and is in specially high demand during festivals and religious events. Since sweet meats are sold by thousands of shops in Calcutta (and most probably in every city and town in India), it is a major source of low-income employment in the production, distribution and marketing of the product. The elasticity of demand for most milk products is generally positive but low (Mittendorf and Krostitz, 1980). There is, however, scarcity of data in this aspect for the different milk products in Eastern India.


4.5. Milk supply from urban farms

This great demand for milk is the reason that hundreds of small dairy farms of varying intensities of production, stocking buffaloes and high-producing pure and cross-bred cows (Jersey, Holstein, Sindhi, and Australian breeds), have sprung up in the cities. urban populations. Intensification of milk production appears to have been primarily achieved by the intoduction of breeds with high feed intakes. Although there are cows that exhibit a high propensity to convert nutrients into milk, little apparent success has been achieved in improving feed conversion efficiency in these ruminant livestock in developing countries through systematic animal breeding, perhaps because of trade-offs such as those arising from the need to focus on hardiness, heat tolerance and adaptability to the local environment and the relationships between the milk yielding capacity of the female and the draught properties of the male offspring (Schaefer-Kehnert, 1981). They are fed on milling by-products and massive quantities of bulky rice straw. This has to be transported from nearby villages throughout the year in an elaborate, labour-intensive operation that uses boats, trucks, carts, rickshaws and simply, people.


Economic development and increasing incomes in the rural areas is shifting traditional food processing to urban areas, and new industries of various sizes have also emerged to cater for the changing tastes of the urban population (for example, the desire for 'fast' foods), or for export markets. With the electrification of the countryside, increasing numbers of efficient agricultural processing units are also being set up in small towns, to replace domestic food processing in the villages. The quantity of agro-industrial by-products, such as cereal bran, lentil testa, broken rice, brewery waste and oilseed meals now generated in urban areas is immense. These by-products are not palatable to humans, but are valuable sources of concentrated nutrients for livestock. Since the transfer back of these by-products to the villages is impractical and uneconomic with the present state of infra-structure and agricultural development of the region, the location of some livestock production systems in urban areas, would appear to be an inevitable consequence.


Many of the urban dairy cows and bulls, particularly dry cows (but not buffaloes which require greater herding), are allowed out of their buildings during the day to graze on an abundant supply of 'free' feed available in the form of marketing and household wastes and

grass and plants growing in public parks and roadsides. An emerging problem in Calcutta is the poisoning of these cows by unscrupulous people because of the high value of the hide. Some of the more valuable animals (costing up to Rs 18,000 in 1994) can now be

seen with muzzles over their mouths to stop them consuming undesirable feed. Urban dairy enterprises keep cross-bred cows for only between 3 and 7 lactations, depending on milking performance, and therefore, must generate considerable quantities of hide and meat. Although these 'spent' cows thus constitute a valuable resource, some dairy farmers have reported that they pay a fee of Rs 80 for having live or dead animals removed from their premises. A socio-economic investigation is warranted on how to manage these animals most efficiently under the constraints of the socio-cultural environment.


Dairy farms in peri-urban areas are labour intensive, for four main reasons. Firstly, the high feed requirements of cross-bred cows;  and the complexity of the feeding regime because little storage space is available. Further, in Eastern India some of the available concentrates (eg seeds of Lathyrus sativum, Pisum sativum and reject Cajanus cajan) need to be soaked in water for a few hours, and roughages (eg rice straw) chopped to maximise their nutritional value to cows. Secondly, the high feed intake of the cross breedsresults in considerable quantities of dung being generated, the clearing of which requires manual effort. Thirdly, milking is done manually twice a day on cows that may yield up to 20 litres of milk a day. Fourthly, the cross-bred cows from Western breeds (such as Holstein), being less tolerant of the summer heat than indigenous breeds, may need to be bathed 4 times a day to assist the animals in keeping cool, in order that high feed intakes and milk production can be maintained. This type of work is done mostly by men and boys, although in some farms women are also involved, particularly in the cleaning operations. With the high cost of lactating cows and veterinary care because of the prevalence of disease, urban dairy farming is a high-risk enterprise. Few women have the financial and manpower resources to undertake milk production, although in Bhubaneswar, family-run commercial farms are more common than they are in Calcutta.


4.6. Domestic milk production in urban areas

It is also important to recognise the contribution that domestic milk production for household needs, makes to overall urban milk supply. A small proportion of households in different income groups keep one or two cows, particularly in cities like Bhubaneswar, partly because it is less urbanised and more land is available. Although the cows are kept primarily to ensure an uninterrupted supply of unadulterated milk, it is greatly assisted by the fact that the more traditional Hindus have a cultural attachment to the dairy cow and keep it almost as a pet. Surplus household milk production is sold to neighbours or local people who have developed an unexpected need for extra milk. Domestic milk production is, however, in decline, with the increasing availability of milk from commercial suppliers, and shortage of labour and land in urban areas.


4.7. Dung, a useful by-product

Dung is a useful livestock by-product which has implications for human health and womens employment. The considerable quantities of dung produced by dairy cattle in urban areas are moulded into flat cakes and dried on the ground or against brick walls to produce a fuel for cooking. This product also serves as an excellent primary fuel for lighting coal-fired stoves, which are now mainly used by low-income groups who cannot afford gas, and by canteens throughout Calcutta that provide cheap food for workers in the formal and informal sectors. Whilst it is rare to find the menial task of dung preparation being done by men, it does provide an income for poor women and fuel for

their households. Cow dung generated in household dairying may be given away or sold toneighbours to be used as manure for kitchen and flower gardening purposes or fuel in the towns. In rural areas dung is also used as manure on the fields, as fuel for cooking, or it may be pasted over the mud walls of houses - again, tasks done mainly by women.


4.8. Public health, environment and resource management implications

The cultural factor may also explain why Hindus tolerate cattle in urban areas despite the inconvenience to human and motor traffic they represent, the environmental pollution and unpleasantness they cause, and the health hazards they pose, for the dairy farms are the

breeding grounds for common flies and mosquitoes, and may also be the source of illness and diseases other than malaria. As dairy farms proliferate, environmentalists, including the Environmental Protection Agency there is growing concern about the quantities of

greenhouse gases generated by these ruminant livestock, especially of the gas methane, whose contribution per mole to the greenhouse effect is believed to be 15 times that of carbon dioxide and which may also impair the ozone layer (Tamminga and Verstegen,



Additionally, there are obvious health implications for the urban population from the accumulation of dung and the preparation of dung cakes. The economic forces deriving from the demand for milk and the cultural factor were too powerful a combination for the Indian government to overcome when it recently attempted to ban livestock from certain parts of the New Delhi in an attempt to beautify the city. A related area for investigation is the effect of air and water pollution on livestock health and production. Dairy farms are exposed to urban pollutants, such as vehicle exhaust fumes, solvent fumes from small industrial enterprises, and the bacteria and viruses that contaminate feed and water. It is clear that any deleterious effect of pollution on animals would be considerably greater in Calcutta than in Bhubaneswar because the latter is a new well-planned city. Since this has an impact on development planning, a study of the effect of pollution on livestock production may be worthwhile.


Whilst recognising that available urban feed material, such as marketing and household wastes, milling by-products, and grass and plants growing along the roadside, private land and parks, constitute a resource that must be productively utilised, the desirability of large

numbers of intensive commercial dairy operations in urban areas is more questionable. The issues relate not only to human health and the cost of transporting straw, to some extent urban production may represent potential production lost in the villages where some women might have been able to derive an income because of their traditional role in animal husbandry. The dung produced in urban areas also represent a loss of soil nutrients to farming systems from where the dairy feeds (straw and milling by-products) originate, with negative effects on nutrient cycling.


4.9. Supply of milk from rural areas and women's involvement

Notwithstanding the existence of these urban dairy production units, it is clear that where the supply of agricultural by-products in urban areas is insufficient to meet the demand for milk (considering that these raw materials are in heavy demand by the poultry industry), there is still scope for organising milk production in rural areas to cater for the urban demand. Rural livestock production systems are at present largely extensive in character, and are therefore likely to benefit poor women more than would urban dairy developments. Since the method of milk production in rural areas has to fit appropriately into the farming system operating, these are likely to be grazing-cum-tethered feeding, low-input and low-output enterprises, using indigenous breeds that under certain agro-economic circumstances may also serve as draught animals for crop production; this is in contrast to the high yielding cross-breeds preferred by the urban dairy farmers.


The milk supply system that has evolved in Eastern India is in marked contrast to that achieved by the AMUL Union in Gujarat (Western India). This project succeeded in coordinating rural livestock, feed resources and labour, to meet the urban demand for milk in a way that has also preserved the traditional role of several thousand village women in dairying, and suppressed urban milk production.


AMUL is a union of approximately 900 village-level milk cooperatives, dating back to the 1940s, when the colonial government first contracted a private milk dairy to purchase milk from Kaira district and to supply it, pasteurised and chilled, to Bombay 266 miles away.

AMUL went through various phases in its development, which included the introduction of a system of daily cash payments to the farmers, the setting up of an efficient supply line with trucks that plied on fixed routes twice a day to collect milk from producers, and a

package of services to raise the productivity of the milch animals. The latter included veterinary care, improved cattle feed, better breeding stock, and the manufacturing of milk products. A modern dairy was built in 1955 which created a further demand for milk, leading to more village cooperatives being organized. In 1956, the union had a membership of 27,000 dairy farmers in 107 primary village cooperatives. Further expansion of the new dairy between 1958 and 1960 created a new opportunity for the manufacture of sweetened milk, baby food and cheese, and by 1966, there were 120,000 members and 867 village cooperatives in Kaira District. The cooperative movement then spread to the adjoining district. The Anand model finally evolved into a three tier structure of village dairy cooperatives, unions of village dairy cooperatives and a Federation of Milk Unions owned by the primary producers of milk and operating in theory for the benefit of the producers.


In 1980, 25000 tons of milk powder and 8000 tons of butter fat was imported into India, which government wished to substitute (Brumby, 1981). Twenty per cent of the 3.4 million litres per day (lpd) processed in the public sector and cooperative dairies was reconstituted milk products: government of India planned to increase this to 40 percent from the 17 per cent of total marketed milk by the year 1985. Every 6-10 litres of milk requires 1md of labour in cattle feeding and care, but if the impact on service industries is included, the total employment creation from dairy development is 12,000 jobs for 100,000 lpd output.


The majority of dairy farmers in AMUL are rural folk, and value an animal as much, if not more, for draught purposes as for milk yield (Jain, 1980). Over 60% of milch animals are owned by 'single animal' households and the cows may yield as little as one and half litres

of milk per day. Women membership of AMUL represents about 10% of the total, but in one district, all 231 members were female.


4.10. Operation Flood

The AMUL system, commonly known as the 'Anand Pattern' (Anand being the city where AMUL has its Headquarters) was selected as a model for the establishment of Indian government's Operation Flood programme, which had as its objective, the 'flooding of the country with rivers of milk'. This massive institutional intervention was established with the foreign aid, and its purpose was to bridge the gap between the urban demand and supply of milk. The scheme involved the creation of a national milch herd from a cross-breeding programme, and investment subsidies for setting up processing and marketing infrastructure in urban areas and procurement networks in rural areas (Doornbos and Nair, 1990). Limited funds were also directed at enhancing milk production in rural areas. The  model found a complementarity between crops and milk in that the extra cash generated was invested in fertiliser or manure to raise agricultural production. The Anand model has its origins in the conviction that intelligent marketing of a high quality well-processed product is the key to greater farm production and farm incomes.


Operation Flood has made a considerable impact on the urban milk supply as well as improving the efficiency with which the resource is managed, but its success at replicating the 'Anand pattern' for the benefit of rural production and women in other regions of the rest of India has not been as good (Doornbos and Nair, 1990).


4.11. Mycotoxins in feed: aflatoxin M1 in milk

Since the Indian population is used to boiling milk before it is consumed, there are no serious health hazards from raw milk sales purchased at the urban dairy farms, or delivered to homes by pedlars. Whilst adulteration of milk with water is a common problem, the consumer is well-accustomed to this practice. However, a new problem emerging concerns the presence of mycotoxins in milk. The commercial urban dairy farmers feed their cows and buffaloes on milling by-products, some of which are susceptible to fungal infection and mycotoxin contamination. Animal performance can be depressed by mycotoxins (Panigrahi, 1993), the major threat being from the aflatoxins. These compounds are produced by several species of Aspergillus that commonly infect groundnut and groundnut meal in South Asia and Africa. Aflatoxin B1 has been shown to be toxic to rumen microorganisms (Arora, 1988; S. Panigrahi, unpublished). Significantly, a biological metabolite of aflatoxin B1 in contaminated feed consuming animals is aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), which with some of the other aflatoxins, are considered to be carcinogenic (IARC, 1976). Since this compound is deposited in the milk, the fungal toxin poses a major health hazard to the urban population. A limited but systematic milk sampling study carried in Calcutta and Bhubaneswar during the winter of 1992 showed concentrations as high as 0.34 ug AFM1/litre (Table 1) in samples taken from the more intensive production systems.


Table 1. Aflatoxin M1 concentrations found in milk samples taken from commercial

outlets in Calcutta and Bhubaneswar.


Source;  Proportion of samples; Concentration range for AFM1 of milk AFM1-contaminated (ug/litre)


Farmer A 2/5 0-0.04

Farmer B 2/4 0-0.17

Farmer C 0/6 -

Farmer D 0/3 -

Mother Dairy 3/3 0.14-0.18


Farmer E 1/5 trace

Farmer F 3/3 0.01-0.17

Omfed 2/2 0.26-0.34



At least 20% of milk produced in India is consumed by babies, infants and children, who may suffer chronic exposure from an age that they are most susceptible to toxins. It would, therefore, be appropriate to set limits on the maximum permissible concentration of AFM1 in milk and milk products sold by the larger dairy companies, perhaps those selling more than 1000 litres of milk a day. With regard to this, the maximum concentration of AFM1 allowed in milk in Europe is 0.05 ug/ml. Imposition of such a limit might allow commercial pressures to lead to appropriate livestock production systems being established or feed management measures adopted. Improved feed storage, chemical treatment of feed, or dilution of contaminated feed could minimise the risk of milk contamination. Two other mycotoxins known to be transmitted to the milk are zearalenone (Mirocha et al, 1981) and T-2 toxin (Robinson et al, 1979).




5.1. Poultry in economic development

An analysis of the considerations relating to production, procurement, processing and consumption in relation to urban demand shows a number of technical and socio-economic similarities between poultry and milk production in Eastern India. These are highlighted

here as a central feature of this dissertation.


No section of Indian society is known to have a strong cultural attachment to the chicken, although there is a goddess who rides a cock. Traditionally, poultry rearing has been an important part of rural mixed farming systems in the Eastern India region (Baksh and

Rahman, 1992), but it is in the past 20 years that commercial poultry rearing under both backyard and intensive production systems has assumed major importance for meeting the animal protein needs of growing urban populations. This trend derives its impetus from the

remarkable progress made by geneticists in developing hybrid chickens that produce meat and eggs at a low economic cost. This is in contrast to the situation in ruminant livestock discussed earlier.


As with the milk production, for developing countries generally there are several reasons for presuming a strategic role for poultry in economic development. With its high efficiency of converting non-fibrous feeds to animal protein, poultry plays an important role in feed resource management. The industry is also a major source of employment. The high nutritional value of poultry products and low cost of production has also prompted a policy of encouraging consumption; for example, in Bhubaneswar, a limited number of eggs is now marketed at subsidised rates (25-30 paisa per egg cheaper than the market price) through numerous booths set up by an organisation named Opolfed, a development similar to the Operation Flood's Omfed milk supply scheme in the same city.


To fully appreciate the role of poultry in economic development it is useful to examine a few considerations relating to the production, distribution, marketing and consumption of poultry products in Eastern India.


5.2. Poultry as a resource

Like the dairy cow, the chicken is 'dual-purpose' in that the eggs laid are eaten and when the hen stops laying, the meat can be eaten. The nutritional value of milk and eggs are broadly similar if their different dry matter contents and micro-nutrients arising from differences in the composition of diets are ignored. There are also similarities in the management of the two animals, with cows having a lactation period of more than one year, and hens laying for up to 2 years, both at declining rates of production. There are, however, major differences, in the expense and time involved in bringing the livestock into maturity (3 years for cows, and only 20 weeks for poultry); and bringing cows into lactation (by artificial or natural methods), with the animal entering a 'dry' period during which it still requires maintenance rations. On the other hand, since the vast proportion of eggs from intensive poultry production operations are infertile, there are no additional breeding costs. The hen lays continuously from 20 weeks of age, at a rate of up to one egg every 26 hours initially and up to 300 eggs per year. The time and cost involved in rearing the animal to reproductive maturity, and hence production, are also greater for the new-born calf than for the day-old chick. Egg white (and cows milk) contains lysozyme, which has been commercially exploited as a food preservative (for fruits, vegetables, seafoods, meat and milk products) because of its property of preventing the growth of deleterious micro-organisms, thus prolonging shelf life (Cunningham et al, 1991).


Poultry slaughter by-products, such as offal and feathers, can be converted, using low-cost technology, to a high-protein and high-energy poultry offal hydrolysate for feeding to poultry and pigs (Machin et al, 1984; 1985), and where economics permit, costlier methods of processing such as extrusion cooking (Tadtiyanant et al, 1993) can be employed. In Calcutta, however, poultry slaughter waste is dumped in specified areas in the market place where it is consumed by grazing animals, such as cows and pigs, and in this way, it contributes to urban livestock production. Chick hatchery waste and egg shells from egg breaking plants can also be converted into animal feeds, egg shells being a good replacement for limestone or oyster shells as a source of calcium in poultry diets (Sim et al., 1983; Tacon, 1982). Dried poultry manure from caged or deep litter production systems are a valuable feedstuff for ruminant animals, as well as for pigs and poultry (MAFF,



Poultry excreta is a useful fertiliser, with the high mineral content of that generated from egg laying hen making it especially good for market gardening, in itself a cash generating activity for the poor in peri-urban areas of developing countries. When examined in relation to concentrations of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, chicken manure has the highest value followed, in descending order, by goat and sheep manure, cattle manure and pig manure (Jacobs, 1986). The nitrogen and phosphorus content of rabbit manure, is however, reported to be almost double that of chicken manure.


5.3. Urban demand for poultry products

Poultry products (meat and especially eggs) have a high elasticity of demand generally, and particularly in comparison with milk products. Eggs are now recommended by doctors for children and are, therefore, in the greatest demand for this age group in India. Eggs are a favoured item for breakfast, where it can be served as boiled, fried, poached, or omelettes with various different ingredients. Boiled eggs can be made into a curry or 'Scotch' eggs (batter-coated), the latter a favoured snack food in Kerala (South India). Eggs may also be

pickled in vinegar to increase shelf life.


Like milk, egg is a versatile item of food with numerous culinary possibilities in savoury dishes, as well as in cakes and desserts. A larger list of recipes that contain egg, classified according to the amount of cooking received by the egg, is given in (HMSO, 1993; Appendix VI, p 53). As with milk, these cooking properties have greatly added to the demand for eggs among urban consumers, whose tastes, unlike those of rural consumers, are more easily influenced to accept foods from other cultures as a result of the international demonstration effect through overseas travel, television advertising, or simply through social interaction within the cosmopolitan environment. Thus, in Eastern India, eggs and chicken meat are now used in Chinese-style egg-fried rice and egg fried noodles, dishes frequently served to guests as a snack. There are also thousands of fast food shops in the cities of the region selling items such as egg rolls, egg and chicken rolls, egg fried noodles, and chicken 'pakoras', poultry products being particularly conducive to fast cooking. There is also a strong trend towards chicken meat replacing goat meat at special celebrations, such as weddings, both on grounds of taste and cost.


Like milk, eggs are eaten by people who otherwise remain vegetarians (as different from vegans who use no animal products at all), for the reason that neither product is obtained by having to kill the animal. In India generally, urbanisation has produced a small but significant trend away from vegetarianism: this has arisen from increased social interaction among the younger generation and the increased availability of chicken outside the home, for example, in hotels and fast food canteens. Of significant importance when considering the urban demand for livestock products generally is that chicken meat and eggs are not subject to large-scale prohibition on religious grounds, as beef is for 600 million Hindus in South Asia, and pork for an estimated 400 million Muslims in South Asia and Africa. Hindus constitute more than 80 per cent of the population of India.


5.4. Nutritional value, tastes and health issues

Winrock (1978) have summarised the nutritional value of different livestock products in terms of energy and protein contribution to the human diet (Table 2). Eggs and chicken meat are of higher nutritional value than milk and red meat, respectively. The value of livestock products has been expressed in grain equivalent (GE) terms by Jahnke (1982), who calculated conversion factors to be 4.0 for a weight unit of meat, 1.7 for milk, and 10.0 for eggs; when converted to US$ assuming $160/ton as the import parity price of wheat for an African country, they were worth $640/ton for meat, $272 for milk, and $1000 for eggs (4 cents each).


Table 2. Food value of livestock products based on carcass weight of product weight.


Net protein  Physiological fuel

value(gm/kg) value(Mcal/kg)

Cattle and buffalo meat 105 2.31

Sheep and goat meat 89 2.00

Pig meat 60 4.2

Poultry meat 126 1.4

Milk: cattle 28 0.62

buffalo 32 1.00

sheep 48 1.12

goat 28 0.75

Eggs 115 1.5



However, these figures do not give a complete picture of the nutritional value of poultry products. eggs are a unique source of balanced nutrients (Cook and Briggs, 1986) for periods of rapid growth, ie for children. The yolks of hard boiled eggs are desirable for infants as a convenient source of vitamins and minerals, particularly in areas where fortified baby foods are not available. Cooked eggs are almost completely digested and absorbed, and are therefore, valuable in therapeutic diets. The quality of protein, as defined by the biological value and protein efficiency ratio, is higher for eggs than it is for any other common food protein source, the biological value of some animal proteins being (Ewing, 1963): egg 93, milk 85, beef liver 77, and beef muscle 69. Egg was thus selected as 'reference protein' by the World Health Organisation.


Eggs are easy to prepare and have popular taste appeal. Unlike milk, which is commonly diluted with water by small dairy farmers in India, eggs cannot be easily adulterated. The nutrients in the egg are protected from environmental pollutants and adulterants by a shell and an inner shell membrane. Eggs are easily accepted by old people who may have difficulty in chewing animal products, such as goat meat. An added advantage of the intensive poultry production system is that the meat of the exotic broiler chicken is more tender than that of the indigenous chicken, and it, therefore, requires less cooking, with implications for natural resource management and acceptability to old people. The bones of the modern broiler chicken are also softer than that of the indigenous backyard chicken,and children in India are encouraged to chew these in order that they may develop strong bones, from presumably the calcium and phosphorus they contain. The low bioavailability of phosphorus in particular, is of major concern for human diets that are largely plant-based. Chewing bones is not possible with goat meat even when pressure-cooked. On the other hand, there is a greater demand for the indigenous chicken during the month of 'Ramadan', either because Muslims have a taste preference for this type, or because they have eaten it traditionally.


A few educated and health conscious urban gentry in the middle to upper income groups now engage in the 'red' versus 'white' meat debate, preferring fish and poultry to goat and beef meat. There is also increasing concern about the causal relationship between the fat and cholesterol contents of the diet (in particular of dairy products and eggs) and atherosclerosis in man. Considerable research has been directed at breeding to reduce the cholesterol content of egg yolks, without much success (Cook and Briggs, 1986; Griffin, 1992), although alteration of the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids in the yolk by manipulating the hen's diet has proved to be easier. This is in contrast to the situation in the adult cattle, for which the fatty acids that become available at the physiological absorption sites do not reflect the characteristic of feed fat, and are usually highly saturated regardless of the composition of the feed. Consequently, the fatty acids in milk fat are substantially different to those in the feed (Miller, 1979), and strategies for lowering the saturated fat intake of those concerned with this issue have, therefore, focused on processing of milk to produce skimmed or semi-skimmed products. Nestel (1984) has noted that greater consumer preference for unsaturated vegetable fats has resulted in a trend away from milk fat towards protein-rich milk products, favouring consequently the Holstein-Fresian at the expense of the Channel island breeds (Jersey). However, care is needed not to give raw or slightly cooked eggs to infants, who may develop allergic reactions to proteins that can be directly absorbed into the blood stream.

An egg albumen protein that is reportedly toxic to test animals and humans when consumed in large amounts is avidin, which is, however, inactivated by the heat of cooking. Egg albumen also contains ovomucoid and ovoinhibitor, trypsin inhibitors of minor significance in the human diet.


5.5. Availability of poultry products for poor

It is of concern that poor livestock producers cannot normally afford to eat their own produce, but there are several reports that poultry products are exceptions (Mustafa, 1991; Ahmed, 1992; Baksh and Rahman, 1992). Eggs are of modest cost and sufficiently small for people in low-income groups to purchase in small amounts to suit their pockets. A common sight in Eastern India is that of vendors selling boiled eggs on trains for Rs 2 each (4 British pence), thereby securing an income and providing nourishment to passengers on long journeys. Eggs and chicken meat are more readily available to the urban (and rural) poor than ruminant meat products, especially where freezer storage facilities are not available. A family can purchase and share a whole chicken but not a goat.Non-vegetarian urban workers in the lower income groups in Calcutta generally eat rice or bread ('chappati' or 'roti') with egg, chicken, or fish curry for their mid-day or evening meals, whilst egg rolls costing about Rs 3 are preferred as snack food. Goat meat is more costly, with prices in December 1993 being Rs 65 and Rs 44 per kg for dressed goat and chicken meat, respectively. Thus, goat meat is purchased on a regular basis only by the middle-income to upper-income groups.


A significant factor for the poor is the cost of cooking livestock products in areas where the fuel supply is limited, with obvious environmental implications: eggs and milk require boiling for 5 minutes (or less), chicken meat for 40 minutes but goat meat for 2 hours.


5.6. Income generation, marketing and resource management implications

In comparison with the larger livestock, poultry is more easily acquired and managed by resource-poor families. Poultry have a rapid reproductive cycle; the time taken to become 'productive' (i.e. reach slaughter weight, to begin egg production) is short, thus providing

a timely source of cash for purchasing inputs for crop cultivation in farming systems. Poultry production can also be intensified relatively easily, thus making it possible to establish units in peri-urban areas closer to the growing markets for livestock products. Further, as an income generating venture under conditions of sharply fluctuating raw material availability (seasonal or annual), backyard poultry keeping is preferred to enterprises involving large farm animals because flock numbers can be quickly adjusted without the risk of financial disaster, risk aversion being an important factor preventing the adoption of new farming methods in developing countries with a significant semi-subsistence sector (Ellis, 1988).


Live chicken and eggs can be transported long distances for marketing without the need for preservation by freezing or other means: the cost to the consumer is, therefore, kept low. In comparison, considerable effort and resource need to be expended on preserving the meat from the much larger ruminant animals by freezing or drying. Further, some drying methods may lower the nutritional value of meat, for example, by causing oxidative rancidity. Smoke-drying of meat may result in the production of the highly carcinogenic benzopyrene and other aromatic hydrocarbons, as in Nigerian 'kundi' (Alonge, 1988).  Thus, marketing constraints arising from the perishable nature of livestock products is a major consideration in livestock development, with fresh meat and milk being more perishable than eggs. In countries with inadequate facilities for pasteurisation or sterilisation and with limited refrigeration facilities, contaminated milk and meat may represent a health hazard. This can, of course, be overcome by converting milk to cheese and fermented milk products, but commercial scale cheese manufacture also produces whey as a by-product which may be discharged into sewers and streams thereby causing pollution.


For the backyard or rural producer, chickens are easily transported in baskets on cycles and pedal-carts to the urban areas for marketing. In contrast, trekking over long distances might be the only economically feasible method of transporting ruminant animals for marketing in developing countries. In Eastern India, live chickens are kept in baskets for display and only slaughtered after one has been purchased by a customer, a practice necessary to prevent meat from deteriorating. Fish is also sold live, whenever possible. On the other hand the goat, being larger in size is slaughtered early and out of sight from people at large; the carcass is then hung in open air for up 2 hours, as customers identify portions which are then cut and sold. The tropical conditions and environmental pollutants can cause a significant deterioration in meat quality by the time that the last portion is sold. For this reason, in rural areas of Orissa a goat is normally only slaughtered if sufficient buyers have been identified during the previous day or two by word of mouth. In Calcutta, slaughter of goats (and hence, sale of fresh goat meat) is banned on Thursdays as an abattoir management practice, but sales of chicken meat and eggs are not similarly affected.


In Bhubaneswar, it was observed that traders with limited resources display eggs directly under the late-morning sun. Since some deterioration of yolk and albumen can occur under warm egg storage conditions (Panigrahi, 1989) studies need to be carried out to test the quality of marketed eggs, followed by some extension work among the small traders and consumers if this was warranted. The traditional method of testing eggs for freshness is to place them in water and rejecting those that tend to float, the higher gas content being a sign of deterioration. The presence of Salmonella in eggs has been of greater concern in developed than in developing countries (HMSO, 1993) presumably because its contribution to human gastro-intestinal disorders is minor in relation to other sources of food contamination, and other tropical diseases in general. Experienced vendors, however, do examine the shells of eggs against a light source to check for cracks that can facilitate the entry of bacteria, as also to detect embryo development and blood spots, both sufficient causes for rejection of eggs by consumers. Significantly, the incidence of embryos in marketed eggs has declined considerably with the increasing supply of infertile eggs, an aspect of product quality that has benefitted from the intensification trend in poultry production. There should be no major differences between the nutritional value of these eggs and the fertile ones produced in backyard poultry systems if the same compound feed is given to both sets of laying hens (Cook and Briggs, 1986).


5.7. Supply of poultry products - the trend towards intensive production systems

In view of the importance of poultry in economic development discussed above, countries in South Asia and South East Asia have, therefore, invested considerable effort in increasing poultry production. In the case of India, these efforts have resulted in per capita annual egg consumption increasing from 6 to 30 between 1961 and 1991 (Panda, 1992). The supply side has a parallel with the milk situation in that rural production is highly unlikely to be able to meet the growing urban demand for poultry products. The most important reason for this is that rural poultry is a sub-system within a complex farming system, and its output is minor in relation to target crop being cultivated. A related reason is the continuing relocation of the traditional food processing activities to the urban areas where large quantities of high protein and energy processing by-products now accumulate. For both reasons, it seems inevitable that intensive peri-urban poultry production systems will continue to proliferate, as well as further intensify, both in terms of the numbers of chickens and eggs produced per unit housing cost, and output per unit feed input.


In common with the urban dairy sector (as well as the goat and pig sectors) limited backyard poultry production is found in cities as congested as Calcutta. These chickens scavenge during the day on urban waste, and may also be given a supplementary feed. Whereas the urban dairy farmer faces the problem of deliberate poisoning of his animal for its hide, the risk to the poultry producer is that of theft. Significantly, the indigenous breeds of chickens are generally quicker and more alert, and therefore, are more difficult to steal than the high producing hybrid chicken, particularly of the broiler type.


Another significant parallel with the milk situation, is that the government policies designed to bridge the gap between demand and supply in order to reduce inflation, have fuelled the intensification trend. One of these policies that numerous countries have implemented is the importation of high yielding breeds of poultry and feed ingredients, such as cereals and oilseed meals. India has gone further by developing a poultry breeding programme to produce chickens that are more suited to the local environment under intensive as well as backyard conditions, and which also have a high efficiency of feed conversion.


5.8. Supply of poultry products from small-scale peri-urban and rural production systems

Notwithstanding the intensification trend, the supply of poultry products from indigenous breeds raised in rural or peri-urban backyard systems remains strong. For tradition or a taste preference, the meat and eggs of poultry reared in free range systems are often preferred to those of the exotic breeds, and therefore command a premium price. In Calcutta, for example, the indigenous chicken may cost up to 20% more than exotic breeds. Thus, in Bangladesh, there are an estimated 66 million chickens and 12 million ducks, 7 birds for every 10 people. The birds are ubiquitously distributed in rural households with about 70% of landless and 85% of landed households holding some (Mustafa et al, 1991). In 1987, West Bengal had a total poultry population of 29.1 million of which 2.8 million are ducks (Gupta, 1990). There were no large private poultry farms, but a large number of small farms with 200-2000 layers, and only a few farms with over 5000 layers. The desi stock play an important role in maintaining egg production, with the percentage of improved layers in the population being 16.5 while that of desi layers is 83.5. Annual egg production varies between 70-80 per bird for desi fowls and over 200 for the improved layers. The development of improved poultry system is localised in certain pockets like the industrial belts of Calcutta and some areas in the districts of Midnapore, Hooghly and 24 Parganas. The backyard farms have been assisted in developing local stock by crossing pure-bred birds, particularly in the tribal areas. In general, crop farming households keep poultry for domestic consumption or sale if the birds are manageable within the context of their farming systems. For this, the chicken needs to be of a type that requires little attention; is not a pest in the rural kitchen garden; can tolerate the adverse climatic and disease problems associated with the tropical environment; perform well on farm feeds that it forages (insects, worms, grain, leaves, food processing and kitchen waste, etc.); and efficiently utilises supplementary farm-grown feeds during the seasons when these can be provided. Recognising these needs, India's poultry breeding industry is developing feed-efficient birds that are also suited to on-farm management, and some innovative villagers in Orissa have started testing these birds on their farms. Some households may meet their domestic needs by keeping only one egg laying hen, confined at night to prevent it falling a prey to predators; and tethered during the day to stop it eating the green-leaf vegetables in the garden. India's satellite television system has also played an important role in educating urban and rural people on human nutrition and health and modern animal husbandry methods, with the result that the  demand for eggs in rural areas has steadily increased, although supply has remained relatively stagnant. It is now acknowledged that non-availability rather than cost keeps villagers from consuming eggs (Rao, 1992). Thus, attention needs to be paid to new product development and on improving infrastructure to facilitate the marketing of poultry products in rural areas. It is, therefore, of interest that in common with the dairy sector's powdered milk product, dried egg products are being developed and incorporated in commercial products, such as Cadbury's Bournvita.


5.9. Mycotoxins in feed: transmission to poultry products

Poultry are particularly susceptible to the growth retarding effects of mycotoxins, with the aflatoxins being particularly hazardous fungal metabolites. In common with the dairy sector, the aflatoxin problem is largely confined to intensive production systems that use nutritionally-balanced feeds incorporating milling by-products. The transmission of mycotoxins and their metabolites to poultry products has also been of concern, with reports of the detection of aflatoxicol and aflatoxin B1 in eggs and certain tissues and aflatoxin M1 in kidneys of laying hens fed aflatoxin-contaminated feed (Trucksess et al, 1983), and ohcratoxin A in the livers, kidneys and thigh muscles of chickens given feed contaminated with this toxin (Micco et al, 1987).


5.10. Poultry-related enterprises by poor women

Poultry development is an important area of gender concern because throughout the world, poultry keeping has traditionally been a female activity that men became involved in only when they realised its quick money generating potential. The historical perspective is summed up in a comment made to Cora Cooke, a pioneer extension worker in the USA, by a participant in one of her chicken meetings: 'when Pa saw money in chickens, he took over' (Bradley, 1992). In much of the developing world, however, rural poultry still remains largely in the domain of women's activities. In contrast with the Rs 18,000 investment in a lactating dairy cow, an egg laying hen will cost less than Rs 50; if both animals are assumed to have the same risk of mortality, the resource poor women will inevitably prefer poultry rearing. Further, management of rural and backyard poultry enterprises is more suited to women because they spend almost all of their time around their homesteads, and the indigenous breeds require little attention which women easily manage with their various daily chores. The achievements of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee in assisting poor and landless rural women to develop poultry rearing as an income generating activity, also deserves a mention. In the two years since its launch, BRAC's Poultry Programme proved successful and 'made significant contributions in raising the income level of the rural, disadvantaged women who would otherwise have been left out of the formal work sector. They are now an active work force, and even if their income is not much, it helps to augment the meagre earnings of the family as well as improving the quality of life. For many, it is now the sole source of income' (BRAC, 1990). In Eastern India, because of the need to carry out the difficult tasks of slaughtering and dressing animals, the marketing of meat from goats, chicken and fish is almost exclusively carried out by men. In contrast, eggs are sold in small quantities by women along roadsides in Calcutta, and as door to door vendors carrying eggs in baskets in Bhubaneswar. Marketing of raw fresh eggs is a convenient income generating activity for poor women because the product does not require butchering, is easy to handle, and the enterprise requires much less initial cash investment than meat or fish marketing.




6.1. Beneficiaries in livestock development strategy

In highlighting issues to be addressed in livestock research, Gass and Sumberg (1993) concluded: 'our understanding of the relationships between livestock and poverty alleviation must (also) move beyond a simple focus on livestock producers, be they men or women. Poor people are also consumers of livestock products, and these products can have a significant impact on nutritional status and health. Thus, in many ways the discussion of intensive or peri-urban livestock is as much about poverty alleviation through consumption as it is about income generation by livestock producers'.


6.2. Livestock production in the major urban centres

With reference to Africa, Gass and Sumberg (1993) further suggest that livestock production in peri-urban areas took place within a distinct environment with a different set of natural resource management challenges to that faced by rural producers. The evidence from the Eastern India region supports this view. Commercial urban livestock ventures appear to be opportunist landless production systems of various sizes and intensities which, nonetheless, are a major source of low-income employment in aspects such as the transport and sale of feeds and the production, processing, distribution and sale of primary and secondary livestock products. The demand for livestock products arising from increasing urbanisation and population pressures and higher incomes generated from economic development, are responsible for the establishment of these production units. The similarities in issues such as nutritional value, cooking properties, and the relative ease of establishing production units, and lower cost of production and marketing compared with ruminant meat make milk and eggs the products of greatest urban demand, with chicken meat being more popular than mutton or beef when considering non-marine meat sources. Excluding household dairying in which cultural considerations play an important role, urban livestock production are commercial enterprises in which profit maximisation is the primary objective and are therefore subject to commercial risks, unlike livestock production within rural mixed farming systems, where the major role of livestock is to intensify crop production. The technical relationships in production being very different in the two systems (e.g., urban dairy production utilises different types of feeds and has higher labour, water and veterinary requirements) a different set of recommendations need to be adopted when developing strategies and technologies for intensifying the two systems. Thus, efficiency savings that may be possible from improved husbandry and feeding systems that are developed in research stations (e.g. urea treatment of straw to improve nutritive value) will not be equally appropriate in urban and rural ruminant production systems; the existence or otherwise of excess demand playing an important role in determining how efficiently physical resources are utilised in the urban dairy system (for example, for some farmers it is not economically viable to chop rice straw to improve nutritive value).


Whilst urban environments vary in their natural resource endowment, government policies influencing supply, environmental pollution, and socio-cultural issues in relation to production and consumption, all of which could influence the character of the production unit that is established, urban livestock systems have certain characteristics with implications for resource management for sustainable agriculture and public health and environmental concerns, and therefore, for strategies in livestock development. Firstly, urban livestock enterprises are set up to meet the urban demand for products by the use of appropriate animal species in numbers and types of production systems that match the feed resources available. Available feed resources are themselves largely an effect of urbanisation, with feed concentrates of high nutritional value being generated as by-products from increasingly larger-scale or more numerous oil milling, cereal milling and other food processing industries that have been established in peri-urban areas, fodder vegetation growing naturally in parks and roadsides, and marketing and household wastes being generated in considerable quantities by the human population the disposal of which may not be well-regulated. However, urban dairy production necessitates the transport of large quantities of rice straw and other forage from rural areas which has negative effects on nutrient cycling for sustainable agriculture; livestock development paths need therefore to consider how greater proportion of rural nutrients can be retained in the rural areas. Secondly, there are major marketing constraints arising from the perishable nature of livestock commodities, with the form, quality and cost of the product being important aspects to increasingly sophisticated urban consumers. Closer proximity of production to the urban consumer is, therefore, inevitable for livestock products that prove too costly to transport from rural areas because of inadequate infrastructure, or because appropriate small-scale preservation techniques to convert these into secondary products that are acceptable to the urban consumer and which can be produced under mixed farming systems are not available. Thirdly, urban livestock production is highly vulnerable to commercial pressures and is dependent on high milk prices. Increasing incomes from economic activity in the major cities will increase land prices and gradually drive the production units towards the peri-urban areas as well as further intensifying the production sytems itself. A particular constraint is the growing shortages of water for buffaloes which need to be bathed to prevent their skins from cracking, and for high yielding exotic stock which need to be bathed up to four times during the summer to keep cool and maintain high milk production rates. Ponds continue to be shared in Greater Calcutta by the human population and dairy farms, but spiralling land prices have decreased the number of ponds. Fourthly, the Eastern India region is passing through a transition phase in consumption as the traditional practice of purchasing milk directly from the farmer or having a trusted farmer deliver unadulterated milk to the home is being replaced by the convenience and the lower price of cheaper homogenised milk supplied by Operation Flood dairies from numerous booths and retail outlets in the cities. Finally, commercial dairy production systems produce significant undesirable effects that have major implications for public health as well as for the quality of life from pollution and traffic congestion in the major cities, and it is not surprising that the government of India attempted to ban cows from the centre of Delhi. For the latter three reasons, the future of small-scale dairying in the major cities is under some threat of disappearing.


Research needs to focus not only on optimising production from urban feed resources, but also on determining the effects of these feeds and livestock products on animal and human health. Where necessary, interventions need to be identified to alter the production system to lessen the adverse environmental effects. Since both the dairy and poultry industries face a particular hazard from mycotoxins, this is a priority area for attention, which will benefit from government legislation to limit the concentrations of these toxins permitted in animal feeds and livestock products, as is the case in most developed countries. Research  is needed to better utilise livestock product processing wastes (eg whey from cheese production) and slaughter house and packaging wastes from all types of livestock operations. In particular, efficient utilisation of carcasses from spent cows merits high priority in research and development in India.


There is also a need to improve the productivity of the small to medium scale peri-urban poultry sector of the Eastern India region. Since feed costs represent 60-70 per cent of the cost of commercial poultry production, it is suggested that research and development of feeds from locally cultivated crops is required to replace the high-cost feeds produced in distant cities by large-scale commercial feed companies that are currently transported into the region. The lower demand for mammalian meat sources (goat, sheep, beef and pork) compared with avian meat, arising from the higher production cost of the former which puts it out of reach of low-income consumers, gives a lower research priority to these animals in livestock development with potential for meeting urban demand. Associated with the perishable nature of livestock products in relation to their high value, the development of secondary products and marketing infrastructure are aspects of livestock marketing where effort is required.


6.3. Resource management for sustainable agriculture

This study has shown dairy production systems in the major population centres of Eastern India raise important issues of resource management for sustainable agriculture in the long term, because of the transfer of considerable quantities of rural nutrients to the urban

areas as livestock feeds, which is expected to reduce soil fertility in the long term. Strategies in livestock development need to consider the importance of following four major functions of livestock in society: their contribution towards intensifying crop production through the supply of draught power and manure; as a supplier of manure for use as fuel in urban and rural areas, with the diminishing fossil fuel and woody plant resources; as a converter of low opportunity cost feed resources, such as crop residues, agro-processing by-products feeds, natural grazing and household and marketing wastes into high-value livestock products; and as a supplier of animal products for which there is growing urban demand. The roles of the dairy and poultry industries are crucial in matching development based on these considerations. However, development paths need to be identified according to the criterion of efficient management of resources in socio-economically and environmentally sustainable agricultural systems.


The experiences of the AMUL project in Western India (Gujarat State) raised much optimism on the potential of mixed farming systems to supply milk to urban populations. Jahnke (1982) has even suggested that similar achivements could theoretically be possible in the African lowlands. The evidence from the rest of India is, however, not promising as the replication of the Anand model has been patchy. For the Eastern India region the following reasons may apply. First, in this region draught animal power is of considerable importance for deep ploughing paddy fields, whereas in the Western India region the millet and sorghum cultivated do not require the same power, thus allowing more of available feed resources to be devoted to milk production in the farming system. Second, with increasing cultivation intensity (rain-fed followed by irrigation rice crop, labour shortages during certain seasons is acute, with migrant workers in Calcutta having to return to their villages in Orissa to assist with farm work during the months of December and January. Third, the cultural aspects of society may play a major role in the success of large dairy cooperative schemes, the Gujarati community being particularly close-knit in comparison with the societies in the Eastern India region. Finally, with both labour shortages and economic pressures necessitating an improvement in food processing efficiency, villagers increasingly take paddy to nearby towns for milling. The evolution of mixed farming systems cannot be viewed in isolation of the movement of village level processing to the nearby towns, which reduces the quantities of nutritious milling by-products available in the rural areas for the livestock sub-system of the mixed farming system. Furthermore, the impact on ruminant production in the villages of the type of high-yielding rice varieties that are now replacing the traditional varieties of the region needs to be examined for its impact on future developmental possibilities. For example, some rice varieties do not produce as much starch as the traditional varieties, and which is fed to draught cattle as a highly nourishing feed. There is also uncertainty on the overall effects on mixed farming of the short-strawed high yielding rice that have been introduced in recent years. In Bangladesh, it is known to have resuted in a paradoxical decline in feed supplies for draught animals at the same time that the work load for the animals have increased. The dry matter yield over the whole season and the nutritive value of the straw are particular areas for concern, with plant breeders needing to pay more attention to the feed value of the rice straw associated with higher grain yields.


Thus, with draught power retaining its importance in the Eastern India region (there is very limited use of power tillers), improving milk production from mixed farming systems will be difficult. In this light, the following development path may be worthy of policy research: technical interventions and accompanying government policies to encourage the intensificaton of small-scale dairy and poultry production in the smaller towns; and interventions to intensify the use of draught animal power, and small-scale poultry production as components of mixed farming systems.


6.4. Livestock production in the small towns

There is a need to assist the small-scale livestock producers in the smaller towns to alleviate the environmental pollution in the major population centres as well as improving resource management. Transport of livestock products from the small towns to the major urban demand centres is likely to be much more practical than it would be directly from the rural areas because of better transport infra-structure, and imp. Dairy and poultry development needs to combine with small-scale agro-processing operations and crop production activities in the surrounding rural areas such that the agricultural system is able to meet both the local and rural demand for the primary agro-processing product (oil, milled rice, wheat flour); and the local demand and demand from major urban centres for livestock products (milk, poultry meat and eggs). There may be scope for small-scale manufacture of compound animal feeds in these towns based on these resources. Such an integration will also enhance the viability of intermediate technology agro-processing by adding value to the by-products. A concept for oilseed milling based on the experiences of Natural Resources Institute has recently been reported (Swetman and Panigrahi, 1994; Panigrahi, 1995). An important feature of this concept of a loosely integrated system is that milling by products are unlikely to remain in storage for long periods of time (as is the case with feeds used in the major urban centres) thus minimising the risk of mycotoxin formation and subsequent contamination of livestock products. Production in the small towns will also make it easier to retain excreta from livestock to be used as manure for crop production, and in the case of poultry litter, as a source of nitrogen and minerals for ruminant livestock. The interaction between dairy farms in small towns and rice cultivators will be of particular interest in view of the observation that around Bhubaneswar, water buffaloes from peri-urban dairy farms are grazed on the weeds, fresh growth from stubble, and grass growing on the verge banks of individual plots in return for a small payment to the cultivator and the manure dropped on the fields. Buffaloes can also be herded to local rivers and streams around small towns for their water requirements.


6.5. Livestock production within mixed farming systems

Research and developmental effort needs to focus on enhancing the rural production of those livestock products for which there is local and urban demand. Both dairy and poultry development can play a role in overall rural development by generating incomes tohelp the intensification and diversification of agriculture, and further, to assist in nutrient cycling. Small-scale dairy and poultry enterprises provide an even distribution of cash income per unit of livestock product produced over the year, which helps the small farmer to overcome liquidity problems and prevents him from having to deal with money lenders (Shaefer-Kehnert, 1981). However, as discussed above, whilst the success of AMUL points to the potential for increasing dairy yield from low yielding cows in rural areas, the importance of draught animal, the high labour requirements of rice cultivation and dairying, and shortages of concentrate feeds make it unlikely that this system will be replicated satisfactorily in the Eastern India region. It would appear that intensification of milk production or draught power will need to depend on supplementing the low-nutritive value rice straw and limited natural grazing with new fodder resources from specially cultivated multi-purpose (fencing and fuelwood) trees and shrubs (there is limited prospects of this because bamboo is available in plentiful supply) or fodder grown on fallow land (which again is very limited). An appraisal of the possibilities and field research to adapt and transfer well-known technologies is suggested.


An alternative income generating, low capital investment and low-labour activity is the introduction or intensification of poultry rearing in the farming system. Poultry are easily manageable in mixed farming systems because they do little if any damage to cultivated crops as do ruminant livestock. However, for any significant contribution to mixed farming, high productive exotic breeds need to be acquired and housed on slatted floor houses raised on stilts rather than the backyard rearing system. Such floors, which can be made from the bamboo that is cultivated in the region, will allow poultry litter to be collected periodically and fed to cows and draught animals as a partial replacement for concentrates. Litter might also be cast into fish ponds of the farming system as a source of nutrients for fish and duck farming that is growing in importance in the region.


With respect to the possibilities of intensifying poultry rearing as a component of mixed farming, it is particularly encouraging to note the success of BRAC's Poultry Programme in rural Bangladesh to meet the urban demand. The developmental concept was similar to that of the AMUL system, with the difference that marketing could be organised cost-effectively on a much smaller scale. this success is primarily due to the lower perishability of poultry products compared with milk, and the relative ease of transporting small numbers of eggs and live chickens from the villages to the towns for marketing. In conclusion, whilst prospects for intensification of milk production from within the mixed farming systems in the Eastern India region appears limited (although it cannot be entirely ruled out), there is greater scope for improving the output of eggs and poultry meat.


6.6. Cows and buffaloes for dual purpose in mixed farming systems

Draught is an inefficient process, representing only a small proportion of total feed energy required to breed, rear and maintain the animal. This may be one the major reasons for the low adoption rate of animal traction in Tropical Africa. Furthermore, it has been shown that efficiency can be increased considerably when other outputs (calves, meat and milk) are produced (Mathers, 1985). Other advantages of cows for draught are that cows are easier to train than oxen; they can be used over a longer period, thus reducing further training requirements; and cows produce their own replacements. Despite these advantages, oxen have not been replaced with cows for draught by smallholder rice cultivators in the Eastern India region. Female livestock are not generally considered suitable for various reasons: cows are less powerful than oxen for the heavy work of ploughing paddy fields, the hump of the male assisting in harnessing tractive power; work reduces milk yield as energy in the form of glucose is diverted; work reduces fertility; cows are unavailable for work during the latter stages of pregnancy and the early stages after the calf is born (this is not easily corrected by breeding strategies). However, a major reason may lie in the cultural factor discussed earlier, the use of the cow for work being anathema to many Hindus in this region. For how long this cultural factor survives the commercial pressures being exerted on farming systems remains to be seen. Since buffaloes are suited to the humid climate of the Eastern India region, with the rivers and ponds available in this region for bathing, and buffaloes can utilise low-quality forages better than cattle, it is tempting to consider their introduction into mixed farming for draught power, milk and manure. However, although buffaloes are reported to be used fordraught in Bangladesh and South East Asia, their use for working on paddy fields is restricted by their susceptibility to sunshine and the high labour that would be required to maintain them as a component of mixed farming. In India, they are highly valued as a source of milk of high quality (in taste and butter fat) and are high yielding. Consequently, their diversion from dairying to dual purpose may not be economically viable; this aspects needs to be examined. Another problem that requires research is breeding, as buffaloes have a fixed rutting season, a difficult heat detection for artificial insemination, and lack of libido on the part of bulls (LPDC, 1992). The quality of manure produce, in particular its suitability for production of dung cakes is another aspect that needs to be considered.


6.7. The manure economy

Manure in Eastern India is valued primarily for fuel use, either in the form of dung cakes in villages and urban areas, or in slurry form to generate biogas for family needs. However, manure is also used for fertilising horticultural crops, in particular for cash crops, such as

vegetables, bananas and bamboo. Its role in fertilising land for rice cultivation, particularly under irrigation system is being replaced with mineral fertilisers that are essential for realisation of the higher yield potential of the new varieties of rice. Poultry litter is gradually increasing in value as a feed commodity for ruminant livestock, and as manure for horticultural crops. There is a need to incorporate poultry production systematically into mixed farming to take advantage of this resource.


6.8. Gender concerns

Last, but by no means least, an important theme of this study is the contention that gender concerns form a central economic and sociological aspect of livestock development, permeating several levels of activities involving livestock, from the crop cultivation stage

to urban dung cake production in the cities. The welfare of poor women cannot be ignored when developing sustainable livestock production systems, particularly since this group has traditionally been responsible for livestock production activities in the region. Improving rural livestock production under mixed farming systems as outlined in this paper will lead to greater benefits to women than urban production systems. The experiences of AMUL and BRAC strongly suggest that livestock is an area of agricultural development where gender issues (concerning employment, nutrition and health) can be successfully incorporated in economically sound projects that also have desirable effects on the technical aspects of the farming system operating and on the social fabric of life in rural communities. However, such development needs to evolve in accordance with the economic realities, for which emphasis must focus on products for which there is major urban demand, namely milk and poultry meat and eggs.




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Director of Sustainable Development Posting at the United Nations