New Indigenous Cattle Breeds
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has recently registered 10 new breeds of livestock species, including cattle, buffalo, goat, and pig, taking the total number of indigenous breeds to 212.
- The 10 new breeds registered in the past year include the dual-purpose Kathani cattle and the Purnathadi buffalo, both found in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, as well as the small but sturdy Masilum cattle of Meghalaya and the Sanchori cattle of Jalore, Rajasthan.
- There are also three new goat breeds ï¿½ Sojat, Karauli, and Gujari ï¿½ all from different regions of Rajasthan, and three new pig breeds ï¿½ the Manipuri Black, Banda, and Wak Chambil ï¿½ native to Manipur, Jharkhand, and the Garo hills of Meghalaya, respectively.
- The identification and registration of indigenous breeds only began in 2010 and were carried out by the ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) through the identification and surveying of these breeds in their native areas.
- The 10 new breeds registered in the past year mark the third-highest increase in registration, after 15 new breeds were registered in 2018-2019 and 13 in 2019-2020. Prior to 2010, there were only 129 indigenous breeds, known as ï¿½extant breeds,ï¿½ registered in India, while unregistered breeds are referred to as ï¿½non-descript.ï¿½
Importance of Registration:
- According to DK Sadana, former head of genetic animal resources at ICAR-NBAGR and founder of the Indigenous Livestock Society, there is a need to identify and register new breeds because many of them have good potential for animal production, but their numbers are decreasing and they may become extinct if not protected.
- Indigenous breeds are better suited to climate resilience due to their heat tolerance, disease resistance, and immunity, but there has been a declining trend in some indigenous livestock, particularly cattle. The 20th Livestock Census showed that while the population of exotic/crossbred cattle increased by 29.3% compared to the 2012 Census, the population of indigenous cattle declined by 6%.
- Sadana emphasized the untapped potential of indigenous breeds of cattle and buffaloes, which are well-adapted to Indian climatic conditions, and stated that registration helps in breed conservation and promotion efforts, as state governments receive funding specifically for these breeds.
The recent registration of 10 new breeds of livestock by the ICAR highlights the importance of protecting and promoting indigenous breeds in India. These breeds have unique characteristics that make them well-suited to local climatic conditions and have the potential to contribute to animal production in the country. However, their numbers have been declining, and registration and conservation efforts are necessary to ensure their survival.
Written by IAS POINT