Indian Immunologicals enters into joint venture with US-based CRI for livestock breeding

Hyderabad: Indian Immunologicals (IIL), the wholly-owned subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), has entered in to a joint venture with the US-based cooperative breeding venture, Cooperative Resources International (CRI), for consultancy on improving the economy of the Indian livestock sector.

According to Dr Amrita Patel, chairman NDDB, IndiaGen is the first venture to prove Indian milk producers and farmers with breeding and advisory services. Dr Patel said the venture would provide 'on-farm' consultations and record keeping services, genetic inputs and livestock marketing. It also aims to provide farmers with genetics and advisory services to optimise productivity and help reduce the cost of milk production.

Dr Patel said that though India was the largest milk producer in the world, it was important to enhance the per- productivity in order to remain competitive. According to her, the benefits of breeding programmes in several states had only marginally impacted farmers and their services were often poor.

Dr David Hileman, CRI president said that the US-based cooperative would provide technical assistance in developing and enhancing semen production and processing capabilities, improving the efficiency of cattle progeny, testing programmes, standardising and enhancing data management systems, and genetic evaluation procedures. He said CRI would train senior staff from IndiaGen in the US for providing better services to Indian farmers.

While launching the joint venture, Sharad Pawar, union agriculture minister, said that IndiaGen would help improve the genetic quality of cattle and livestock in India by creating an artificial insemination delivery network. The company would also offer advisory services to maximise farmers' profit levels. The department of animal husbandry, he said, was planning to set standards for semen production and an annual allocation would be made for improving livestock quality.