India possesses 27 indigenous breeds of cattle and seven breeds of buffaloes. Punjab's main dairy animal is buffalo, not cow. However, the breed of buffaloes is of low quality that leads to low milk yield. It was also found during the survey that one or more animals in some cases of 50% farmers are affected with infertility.
Efforts are made to protect and preserve the buffalos in their native tract, which are facing threat of extinction. Various central and centrally sponsored schemes are being implemented for genetic improvement of cattle and buffaloes.
To reserve the situation by improving the breed and milk yield of buffaloes, Milkfed has implemented the project through NGO Baif and J.K. Trust for establishment of Integrated Buffalo Development Centers (IBDC), under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana-2010. The programme is being carried out in 12 districts falling in border, Kandi, trans-Ghaggar and water-logged regions, where these centres have been set up.
As lactating time of the animal in a year is only eight months; for high milk yield, better quality of semen was the pre-requisite under the artificial insemination (AI) programme for buffalos. The Milkfed had set up 200 IBDCs, each of which has been providing AI services to a cluster of seven to eight villages at the door-step of farmers since 2011.
Till date 4, 45,781 artificial inseminations have been done by IBDCs. Most of dairy farmers are in remote areas but were happy with the Artificial Insemination services being provided at their doorsteps.
For effective breeding programme, breeders use a lot of information to select which animals will become parents of the next generation. Once an animal is born with a good trait, that trait can be passed to the next generation. Over time, more animals in the herd will be born with that good trait. This helps producers achieve their breeding goal. The process of selecting animals based on their genetics has helped advance agricultural productivity over the past 50 years.
To get better results in dairy farming more awareness camps should be organised and young educated youth should be motivated for the dairy sector. In addition, more interaction is required at the village and block levels to motivate landless villagers to go in for dairying. It's time to extend this programme to those areas, which are untouched!