Although agriculture is the prime source of livelihood for a majority of rural population in the North-Eastern region (NER) of India, dependence on livestock as an alternative source of income is significant. Responding to the burgeoning demand for livestock products in a sustainable manner is a big challenge. The widening gap between the demand and supply of livestock products can be met through bringing out changes in the production structure or opening up the international trade. In this context, an analysis of performance and factors influencing development of the livestock sector in NER has been carried out. The growth of livestock sector has been found slower in the NER than at the national level. However, a significant proportion of landless labourers, small and marginal farmers have access to livestock resources and acceleration in the growth of livestock in NER offers significant opportunities for household income augmentation and employment generation. Several factors identified to influence households’ decision to rear livestock include availability of labour, occupation, caste, farm-size, availability of irrigation, and access to information sources. The study has shown that the NE states should take technical, institutional and policy initiatives for the improvement of breeds, feed availability, disease control and food safety of livestock.


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