The livestock sector has the potential to make a significant contribution towards livelihood security and reducing rural poverty. In Bihar, the sector contributes about 40% to the State Gross Agricultural Domestic Product and supports the livelihoods and food security of about two-third of rural households. This is one of the fastest growing sub-sectors of the agricultural economy in the state and has the potential to significantly enhance the rural economy. Despite the higher growth and substantial contribution to state GDP, Bihar is still not self-sufficient in milk, meat, eggs and fish production. These sectors have the capacity to provide opportunities for livelihood to people in their present location and situation.
Over the last few years, JEEViKA has successfully implemented dairy intervention in partnership with COMFED (the State Cooperative Milk Federation). As part of the intervention the project has organized SHG households into Dairy Cooperative Societies (DCS). Through these societies and the partnership with COMFED, households are provided access to both input and market linkages. These DCS serve as centers where milk is collected, tested (for the fat content) and sold to COMFED. In addition, inputs like feed and veterinary service are also routed through these DCS. A transparent fat based payment system is followed. All these services and the transparent payment system have ensured a 30 to 35 % hike in price realization for nearly 20,000 households. Recently the project has also piloted the backyard poultry intervention with around 2500 households. The model includes the management of the mother unit by a private entrepreneur and overseeing by the community institutions and transfer of chicks to individual households only after a certain period by which the chicks become hardy. Initial results of the pilot have been promising.
Going forward, JEEViKA will continue to focus on diversifying and intensifying livestock production and aims to capitalize on innovative opportunities that exist in the areas such as – animal health and breed improvement services; models for accessing inputs and support services such as feed and fodder development; local level value addition and processing; better access to markets through linkages with public, private and cooperative sectors; new and inclusive ownership and enterprise models focused on small producers etc.