The farming community of our country uses mixed crop-livestock farming system. Cattle, fowl and goats are widely held. Livestock production does not disturb the other food producing activities but it still provides a more stable income, food security, transport, fuel and nutrition for the family. Over 70 million small and marginal farmers including landless labourers depend on the livelihood sector to provide alternate livelihood actions.
In India, poultry has the biggest share accounting for 42% of livestock. Other animals like camels, asses, ponies, horses and mules occupy the smallest share of livestock. There were around 287 million cattle including 90 million buffaloes in India in 1997. The performance of the diary sector has been very impressive over the last three decades. Milk production has increased by more than four times between 1960-2002. This is because of the implementation of a program called Operation Flood from the year 1966 onwards. Operation flood is a system in which all the farmers can pool their milk produce according to different grading based on the quality of the milk produced. This pooled milk is then processed and marketed to the urban areas through the cooperatives. In this system, the farmers are assured of a fair price and income. Gujarat is the prime example of the success of this endeavor. The other emerging sectors are the byproducts of meat, eggs and wool.