Livestock & Poultry experts’ views on Budget 2023-24

After the recent budget announcement, THINK GRAIN THINK FEED connected with various industry experts representing the livestock and poultry sector to get their assessment of the recent budget forthe poultry, dairy, and aqua sector.

Neeraj Srivastava
Chairman, CLFMA of India
Indian Animal Husbandry Sector is a sunshine sector among allied Agricultures sectors, growing consistently year on year. The present size of the sector is estimated to be 15 lakh crores in dairy is 8 to 9 lakh crores and the poultry sector touching 2 lakh crores and also giving employment to the rural population.

The focus of the present budget is more towards Animal Husbandry and Dairying with an allocation of 20 lakh crore under agriculture credit targeted at Animal husbandry, Dairy, and Fisheries sectors. Setting up of Agriculture Accelerated fund for encouraging innovative startups in Rural Areas is another great step. In this budget, the government has focused on building digital public infrastructure for building accessible inclusive, and information services for farmers.

Apart from generic support through the Ministry of Agriculture and many other schemes under the Ministry of Food Processing, additionally, a 10% increased allocation has been done for the Dept. of Animal Husbandry & Dairying at 4327.85 crores.

The thrust of the Department has been on disease control under Livestock Health and Disease Control program (2349.71 crores) keeping in view of the pan India prevention program for contagious diseases like Foot and mouth, Brucella, LSD, etc. The allocation of 600 crores for the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), 410 crores for the National Livestock Mission, 340 crores, for Infrastructure development, and 327 crores for Dairy Development fund are the thrust areas of the Government of India for in frastructure development, breed conservation, and entrepreneurship development.

The government of India plays a major facilitator role in Animal Husbandry Sector, then although it is a subject for states to design suitable schemes based on their priorities.
Of course, it is for the stakeholders of the livestock sector to be more proactive, in order to get the gross benefits from various Ministries viz. Agriculture, Food Processing, Rural Development, etc. to enhance their integral growth story.

Rajeshwaran Selvarajan
Development Management Institute (DMI) – Patna
What is there for the mature Indian dairy sector?
The very fact that the fisheries sector has been allocated nearly 50% more, INR 6000 crore against 4328 crore allocated for the Animal Husbandry and Dairy sector in the Budget 2023-24 itself could indicate the fact that the Government of India feels that the later is mature enough to be supported by private investments rather than public funds. And the government is already supporting the dairy cooperatives with public funds through NDDB and NCDC.

Interestingly, it is the same reason why the World Bank pulled out of supporting India’s cooperative dairy sector in the processing of milk in the 1980s. Of this 4328 crore nearly 50% has been allocated towards the prevention of communicable diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease in cows. This is a step in the right direction. However, unfortunately, the record of Departments of various states to control these diseases over many years of operation is far from satisfactory. Many a time, the vaccine itself is not maintained under the cold chain. So, discussions are limited on the incremental quantum of public funds allocated in the Budget.

So much so that the effective use and monitoring of funds allocated and strategies never come into public discourse.
The National Livestock Mission which has the objective of sustainable development of livestock especially large and small ruminants viz. cows, buffaloes, sheep, and goats was allocated a meagre 410 crore. Over many years of its operation, this mission has very little to write home about, For example, the use of frozen semen of a few chosen bulls of imported and indigenous breeds for breeding of all cows in the country irrespective of the breed of the cow vide Artificial Insemination and use of sexed semen under the garb of “breed development” has severely constrained the bio-diversity of Indian breeds.

Further, the castration of bulls of Indian breeds has been going on rampantly across the country. Kerala state is a live example of this extreme strategy, with the native breeds completely wiped out. Now, the same technique is being promoted by the Government in goat rearing too!

New cooperatives established up to March 2024 are said to have been given income tax relief by way of a lower rate of 15%. It is a moot point to note that the very character and structure of cooperatives is to return maximum money to the farmer with the objective of reducing profit on the books of accounts and paying very little tax, if at all. Further, no new business entity of any type is expected to earn profit in its first-year operation. Hence, this announcement of IT relief to new cooperatives is simply hollow. In fact, such proposals that too in the national budget gives the common man to doubt the very purpose and sincerity of the entire exercise and the people involved in making it.

Even the proposal for enhanced funds as credit of 20 lakh crore to the agricultural sector has no mention of providing credit support for the purchase of milk-producing units viz. cow or buffalo.

Victor Suresh
President, Society of Aquaculture Professionals
The recent budget has slashed import duty on fishmeal, krill meal, fish oil, algal oil, and vitamin and mineral premixes used in aquatic feed. This is surely a welcome development. The consequences of this change on the cost of aquatic feed will be substantial not in the immediate term but long term.

Of the ingredients, only krill meal is currently being imported in large quantities. The import of fishmeal, fish oil, and algal oil is minimal at present. The aqua feed industry predominantly uses local fishmeal and fish oil. Most of the mineral premixes are made locally while vitamin premix manufacturers import individual vitamins and make the premixes in India. But, extensive reliance on domestic fishmeal and fish oil is not advisable.

Fish oil prices have nearly tripled in the last three years, and fishmeal prices are also rising. Both fishmeal and fish oil from India are exported. Therefore, it is advisable that the imports of these ingredients are enabled to provide cost-effective options for the local manufacturers. Further, fishmeal and fish oil production from forage fish can lead to overexploitation of the stocks. As a matter of fact, sustainability certification programs for farmed seafood press for fishmeal and fish oil are from certified fisheries. Algal oil replaces fish oil, so reducing its cost will encourage feed manufacturers to pursue its use in aqua feeds. In conclusion, there is a large upside to the current exercise of duty reduction in the long term.

Saloni Godbole
Occamy feeds
The budget 2023 presented by Honorable Finance Minister is a step towards overcoming the Covid impact and enabling India to reach the 5 trillion-dollar economy in a sustainable manner by addressing the 7 key areas of “Saptarishis” that are interlinked and form the basis to boost the economy as a whole and especially the dairy, poultry, and aquaculture sector directly and indirectly.

The upgraded schemes for fisheries, increased fund allocation declared for agriculture/agri-based startups, credit for farmers and reformed cash deposit norms for the co-operative sector, digitization of co-operative sector, AI for Agriculture and credit availability as well as 40% increased budget for animal husbandry shall boost directed, growth-centric developments, removing practical barriers like lack of reliable data, cash flow management at grass root level due to cash and credit linked practices and promote ease of business even at the rural setups.

Funds directed towards crop improvement, boosting natural/organic farming practices, and cultivation of millets-the super foods shall lead to a sustainable shift for long-term benefits and indirectly ensure high-quality nutrition availability for livestock with improved quality agricultural wastes (oil cakes, millet forages, greens, etc. GobarDhan initiative can make India energy sufficient owning to the huge cattle population we have and supporting the welfare of stray cattle. Last Mile, regional connectivity should lead to reduced prices of nutrition which contributes to 70% of investment costs for dairy/poultry/aquaculture farmers.

Water for drought-prone areas can open up opportunities for animal husbandry, especially fisheries generating livelihood opportunities in rural and dry regions.
The budget definitely benefits and supports the entire value chain in the animal husbandry sector along with increasing the green economy.