India hosts the world’s most significant number of farmers and livestock. According to the 20th Livestock Census conducted in 2019, India has 535 million livestock animals, majorly comprising cattle (35.94%), Goats (27.80%), Buffaloes (20.45%), Sheep (13.87%) and the rest includes pigs, camels, horses, etc. The total number of cattle in the country was 192.49 million in 2019, showing a minor increase of 0.8% over the previous census. There has been a decline of 6% in the total indigenous cattle population, both descript and non-descript, over the last census.
One of the primary reasons for this decline is the acute fodder shortage that makes farmers and livestock highly vulnerable. To put the perspective right, the Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute estimates that by 2030, there could be a decline of 65.45 per cent in green fodder and 25 per cent in dry fodder if there is no stringent action taken from the government.