Animal Husbandry has major role in sustaining economy during COVID crises

Pashu Sandesh, 15th May 2020

Dr Viraj Wagh, Dr Ramdas Gade, Dr Santosh Wakchaure, Dr Shashikant Mandekar

Presently the world is experiencing havoc and tragic painful situation due to COVID-19 pandemic. If you closely observe this pandemic situation and analyse its long term effects we can clearly make out that after the phase ends the whole world will have to face a period of recession and many adverse psychosocial impacts. As a technical expert of my field, I strongly feel that during the after-effects of this COVID-19 pandemic the only sector which will help to sustain the world economics will be agriculture and animal husbandry. Among this, the animal husbandry sector will definitely prove to be a hidden boon to uplift the world economy. In the animal husbandry sector milk procurement and milk industry, poultry industry and meat industry are the important segments. As we know in 2018, India produced 186 million tonnes of milk, which was 22% of that year’s global total milk production of 843 million tonnes, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Milk output grew 5% over 2017 levels in India, while it was just around 1% in the European Union and the US. The last five decades have seen the tide turning for India, which accounted for just 5% of the world’s milk production in 1970. This growth is expected to sustain in the coming years. In India The dairy industry serves as an economic engine and a source of livelihood, 80 million rural households are engaged in milk production, with a high proportion comprising landless, small and marginal farmers. Country’s milk production has grown by 6.4% annually in the last 4 years, well above the global growth rate of 1.7%. 

For this, we have to guard the health of dairy animals during this COVID-19 lockdown phase. The smooth running of a dairy industry heavily depends upon the quality veterinary services provided to the farmers, in this the Vets of Animal Husbandry Department of Maharashtra have stood up to the expectations by providing continuous veterinary services to the farmers despite limited available resources on the field. Though veterinary services are not categorized under emergency services by Government, sensing the need of time and thinking it as our prime responsibility as a veterinarian during this period of lockdown number of emergencies were attended by our vets all over Maharashtra many lifesaving surgeries were performed to help save the farmer's gold.

Before the start of this lockdown, many people from rural areas who were working in metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Pune have migrated back to the villages in heavy numbers raising the possibility of potential asymptomatic carriers of COVID19 in rural areas. All the vets delivering their services, on day to day basis come in contact with not only animals but their owners who may be asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus, even after taking all the precautionary measures for e.g. Like social distancing which sometimes is practically impossible while performing surgeries and attending emergencies due to which vets are at potential life risk, therefore, it’s the strong need of time to provide an insurance cover to veterinarians and their staff at par with medical fraternity, nurses, Anganwadi sevikas and even rural development department staff. All the vets feel their prime responsibility to serve the animals and in turn, serve humanity in this critical phase of COVID 19.

Dr Viraj Wagh (editor e-news MAHAVET) Dr Ramdas Gade (President MAHAVET), Dr Santosh Wakchaure(Gen Secy MAHAVET), Dr Shashikant Mandekar (Executive President MAHAVET)