IMPACT OF DAIRY FARMING ON LIVELIHOOD OF LANDLESS WOMEN OF MEHSANA DISTRICT, GUJARAT.
Prakash .A. Panchal
Prof. B.N. Hiremath
Impact of Dairy Farming on Livelihood of Landless Women of Mehsana District, Gujarat. Introduction
Dairy farming by landless women is emerging as an important livestock farming system characterized by rearing one or two low productive cattle. The landless dairy farmers mostly derive their income from working as agricultural labourers; they supplement their income with income generated from cattle rearing. The contribution of landless dairy farmers to the national milk production is quite substantial (Shukla and Brahmankar, 1996;De Leeuw et al., 1999; Ahuja et al., 2000; Datta, 2002). Realizing the potentiality of dairy cattle in improving the economy of resource poor people, especially the landless, the government of India has recognized dairying as an instrument of socio-economic change. It is a boon for these families to own a cow or a buffalo (Candler and Kumar, 1998) and the ownership of this asset increases the confidence and self-worth of women (Ramaswamy et al., 1999), whose contribution to cattle rearing is well recognized (Dhaka et al., 1995; Rangnekar et al., 1993; Patel, 1993; Patel, 1998; Ahuja et al., 2000; Bravo-Baumann, 2000; Rao, 2001; Ramkumar and Rao, 2001).
However, the impact of dairy farming on livelihood of landless women is varies region wise due to certain price policy and subsidy provision to milk producer. Some of landless women have sold their dairy cattle because of increase in cost of fodder and less price realization of milk. There are also large number of household whose livelihood is increased considerably after joining dairy farming. Mehsana district is second in Gujarat in milk production which comprises large number of small and landless women milk producer. Empowerment of such large number of landless women milk producer is the goal of institutions e.g. village co-operative society, District union, state federation.
Recognizing the importance of dairy farming in its substantial contribution to the agriculture economy and to the livelihoods of resource poor farmers/rural population, high priority is attached in several locations strengthening the milk marketing infrastructure, veterinary services for breed improvement and health care, extension support for capacity building of farmers, developing entrepreneurship, technical skills and knowledge on scientific dairy farming practices, etc. several programmes have been launched from time to time by State/Central Governments for promoting the sector, although the impact of such programmes varied widely.
Impact of dairy farming on livelihood of landless women is been debated for longer period of time. Lots of landless women milk producer is withdrawing from dairy farming activity because of certain constraints e.g. availability of fodder, fodder price, price of milk, heath of cattle, etc. It is one of the major challenges to retain the interest of small and landless women’s interest in dairy farming. If dairy farming provide positive impact on livelihood assets of these landless women than it is sure that they will occupy dairy farming as means of earning their livelihood. It has been said that dairy farming is improving the livelihood f milk producer but does it holds true for landless women who rearing only one or two cattle with sort of resources.
To study the impact of dairy farming on livelihood, I will use DFID livelihood framework. I will be studying changes in livelihood assets particularly human assets, physical assets, social assets and financial assets after taking dairy farming as means of earning livelihood.
Figure 1:DFID Sustainable Livelihood Framework
Source : DFID 2001 : firstname.lastname@example.org
A livelihood comprises the...