GIR AND KANKREJ
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Context: India imports Brazilian bull semen to boost milk production by enhancing native breeds' genetics, aiming for higher yields through artificial insemination.
- India recently initiated the import of bull semen from Brazil, marking a significant departure from previous practices. This move is geared towards boosting the country's milk production through artificial insemination.
- The primary player in this initiative is the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), a government-owned cooperative responsible for the Mother Dairy brand.
- The initiative aims to increase the population of Indian native breeds, with a particular focus on Gir and Kankrej. The ultimate goal is to enhance the milk production capabilities of these breeds, contributing to the overall dairy industry in India.
Gir and Kankrej Cattle Breeds
●Gir cattle, also known as Gyr, have their origins in India. They are one of the principal Zebu breeds.
●Known for their distinct hump, long ears, and a well-developed dewlap.
●Coat colours vary, including shades of red, white, and spotted patterns.
●Adaptability to tropical climates and resilience to extreme weather conditions.
●Gir cows are recognized for their high milk-producing capabilities, making them a valuable breed in the dairy industry.
●Kankrej cattle, also known as Bannai, come from the region of Kankrej in the state of Gujarat, India.
●Medium to large-sized animals with a well-built body structure.
●Distinctive lyre-shaped horns and a hump over the shoulders.
●Typically have silver to dark grey coat colour.
●Known for their adaptability to arid and semi-arid climates, making them suitable for various agricultural practices.
●While Kankrej cattle are used for dairy purposes, they are also recognized for their strength and are employed as draft animals in agriculture.
●Kankrej cattle are listed as a breed of cattle that needs conservation due to factors like crossbreeding and changes in agricultural practices.
Government Milk Production Targets
- The import comes at a crucial time as the Indian government has set an ambitious target to produce 330 million tonnes of milk per annum by FY34. Current statistics reveal an increasing trend in milk production, but the demand is expected to rise, necessitating strategies to enhance output.
- India's current milk production is 6 million tonnes (mt) per annum, as of 2023. India is the world's largest milk producer, contributing roughly 24% of global output.
Brazil's Role and Expertise
- Brazil's significance lies in its preservation of the original breed of Gir cows, initially gifted by the Maharaja of Bhavnagar in the 18th century. The Gir breed is renowned in Brazil for its ability to produce high quantities of milk and withstand extreme weather conditions.
Genetic Enhancement Project
- The NDDB plans to utilize the imported semen in an existing research project. The objective is to develop animals with genetics derived from Brazilian sources, capable of achieving an impressive 80 litres of milk per animal. This is a substantial increase compared to the current average milk yield of eight litres in India.
Resistance and Concerns
- This initiative faced resistance from indigenous cow breeders. Concerns were raised about potential harm to Indian breeds. Previous attempts in 2017 to import frozen semen were postponed due to objections from cattle breeders.
- India has witnessed a decline in the number of indigenous cow varieties, as farmers increasingly prefer foreign breeds like Jersey. The comparative milk yields of Jersey and Indian Gir cows highlight the shift in preferences.
Embryo Transfer Discussions
- In addition to semen import, discussions are underway regarding embryo transfer as an alternative strategy. This approach could potentially offer higher success rates compared to semen import, as it eliminates the need to find specific animals for insemination.
●The collaboration between India and Brazil extends beyond this specific initiative. Both countries share a close and multifaceted relationship, cooperating in various areas such as animal husbandry, dairy, and trade.
●The bilateral trade relationship has been steadily growing, with ambitious targets to increase two-way trade to $50 billion by 2030. Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed since 2008, particularly in the domain of animal husbandry, underscore the commitment to collaboration.
●The joint declaration between Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) and India's Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) aims to streamline the process. Commercial contracts between Indian buyers and Brazilian sellers add a layer of organization to the import process.
- The import of bull semen from Brazil to India represents a strategic move to enhance the country's milk production capabilities. This collaborative effort aligns with broader goals of genetic enhancement and sustainable dairy practices, emphasizing the significance of international cooperation in addressing domestic agricultural challenges.
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WORLD MILK DAY: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/world-milk-day
Q. Technology can play a role in improving efficiency and sustainability in milk production. For example, the use of artificial insemination and improved breeding practices can help to increase milk yields. However, it is important to ensure that these technologies are accessible and affordable for all farmers.