CHANGING TREND IN LIVESTOCK HOLDING PATTERN IN CLIMATE CHANGE SCENARIO
The study was conducted in irrigated and rainfed systems of Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu. Totally 32 village panchayats were selected from irrigated and rainfed systems based on livestock intensity and 10 livestock farmers were selected randomly from each panchayat to constitute a sample size of 320 respondents. Ex-post-facto research design was adopted to find the trend in livestock holding as perceived by the respondents. The respondents had agriculture as their primary occupation and livestock farming as their secondary occupation in irrigated (86.87%) and rainfed (85.62%) areas which indicates that the traditional way of maintaining livestock as subsidiary occupation along with agriculture is still prevailing in the study area. There was high significant difference between different categories of farmers in the livestock holding in irrigated area, whereas significance at 10% level was noticed in rainfed area. Most of the livestock farmers had decreased their livestock holding over 30 years and high significant difference noticed in irrigated area and no significant difference in rainfed area. In irrigated system, 53.75% of the respondents perceived forage scarcity as the main reason to reduce the number of livestock followed by labour shortage (51.25 per cent) and water scarcity (40.00 per cent). In rainfed system, 62.50% of the respondents perceived water scarcity as the major reason and 59.38% of the respondents reported forage scarcity was the second most reason. Equal per cent of the respondents in both systems perceived that there was no change in livestock disease occurrences over thirty years. Next to this, they perceived the frequency of disease incidence was increased. Due to deficit rainfall, the water and forage scarcity occurs resulting in reduction of livestock holding. Apart from the direct effect of climate change on animal and animal production, there were profound indirect effects as well as climatic influences on quantity and quality of feed and fodder resources such as pastures, forages, grain and crop residues which affects the availability of fodder to livestock. This resulted in change in livestock rearing pattern from extensive (82.81%) to semi-intensive (92.5%) or intensive (4.19%) system. Developing common grazing land, fodder banks and seed banks by the local bodies would help the livestock farmers to adapt for the climate change effects and retain the livestock.
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