The Indian Context
While agriculture is the backbone of India's rural economy, livestock rearing is also a vital contributor. Almost all rural households own livestock - even landless families will own one or two cows or buffaloes. For the poorest among these families, livestock is often their only sustained source of income. However, in general milk yields are extremely low a result of poor nutrition and genetic quality.
ITC's Livestock Development Programme provides artificial insemination services to produce calves with significantly higher milk yields - producing enough surplus that can be sold. Cattle Development Centres in villages provide services right at the owner's doorstep which also include veterinary support to ensure proper health and nutrition.
Having surplus milk for sale brings in extra income, especially useful for poor households. With the additional income and experience, families can invest increasing their herds, paving the way for dairying to become a viable livelihood option.
Cattle-owners are encouraged to join together and form milk marketing societies so that they can reduce logistic costs and connect to larger markets to get higher prices. In selected areas, ITC also sets up modern milk collection centres where scientific testing ensures better prices for better quality, motivating owners to invest more in cattle health and nutrition.