Livestock Production and the Rural Poor in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa States, India


This paper analyzes the political economy of the livestock sector in two Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The aim is to identify politically feasible interventions that could have broad positive effects on poor rural livestock producers in these states. To that end, the paper assesses the relationship between land, livestock, and poverty, describes the organization of the sector, and analyzes the political and bureaucratic interests shaping livestock policy.

The study used the key informant method supplemented with official documents, newspaper sources and recently published research on the livestock sector. Interviews helped reveal policymakers' concerns, whereas field trips allowed the researcher to talk to a farmers and learn their perspectives from the bottom. Newspapers contained many lively stories of how well-intentioned policies went awry at the implementation stage, while published research analyzed various political, institutional and technical aspects of policymaking in the sector.

Livestock policy options are constrained by the broader political context. Because livestock producers are not an organized political lobby, policy in this area is shaped by broad policy trends and the agendas of more organized groups. Historically, livestock sector policy has focused on large ruminants and the state has sought to deliver necessary supportive services. Hindu nationalist groups have encouraged emphasis on vegetarian-friendly livestock policies—promote dairy rather than meat—and placed constraints on cow slaughter. Statist beliefs led the state to view provision of animal health and breeding services as a state responsibility and facilitated direct intervention in the cooperative sector.

Based on this analysis, the paper discusses several options for strategic intervention in the livestock sector. The interventions with the greatest potential are the following. One, actors can seek to improve producers' capacity to articulate and advocate their interests. Two, actors can seek to increase access to shared resources such as forests and pastures. Three, actors can encourage pro-poor implementation of animal health service reforms. Four, actors can advocate further liberalization of the dairy sector. Five, actors can support small ruminant production by improving feed and fodder and conducting research on commodity chains and breeding.

A two page executive summary is also available in addition to this paper.


PPLPI, FAO, Rome, Italy, v+44pp.

Published 1 January 2004