Amplifying voices of the unreached: impact of Covid-19 on the livestock rearing community


This report discusses the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown on the incomes and daily lives of livestock farmers. It was published in May 2020 by the Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), a non-profit organisation based in New Delhi.

It contains the results of a telephonic survey of 33 livestock farmers in 26 villages spread across eight Indian states: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The survey was conducted in April and May 2020, a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the nationwide lockdown.

The study’s objectives were to ascertain the lockdown’s impact on these farmers; document the issues they faced; analyse the accessibility and effectiveness of government relief packages; and suggest recommendations to improve their conditions.

The report found that most respondents were aware of Covid-19 and social distancing regulations. In the months following the lockdown, their earnings from selling livestock and related products plummeted due to market restrictions and demand reduction. Rumours about livestock being sources of the disease added to their worries. Additionally, farmers faced difficulties in obtaining fodder, vaccination services and medicines for their animals.

Some respondents were unable to procure necessities such as food supplies and medication, notes the 15-page report. Many had access to rations through the public distribution system (PDS) and other government schemes. As of May 2020, the State had not announced any package addressing the problems of livestock farmers.


  1. The Indian government announced a 21-day national lockdown on March 24, 2020, that was later extended to May with a new set of guidelines for the calibrated opening of the economy effective from April 20 – the report states.

  2. The National Sample Survey Office (now, the National statistical Office) conducted the Land and Livestock Holdings Survey as part of its 70th round in 2013. According to the survey, around 1.75 per cent of India’s rural households – roughly 2.7 million households – derived a major portion of their income from self-employment in livestock farming.

  3. The IGSSS survey found poultry and goats to be the most reared livestock; the 33 respondents had 610 and 297 respectively.

  4. Seven respondents earned less than Rs. 15,000 annually from rearing livestock, 13 earned Rs. 15,000-30,000, six earned Rs. 30,000-50,000 and seven earned Rs. 50,000-70,000.

  5. Some respondents reported that sales dropped from 1-2 goats and 10-12 chickens to around two chickens per month. Three respondents from Kashmir said that they had to sell eggs usually sold at Rs. 10 for Rs. 6. Milk and dairy product sales also dropped.

  6. UP and MP farmers reported that they managed to obtain about a quarter of their daily requirements of grocery and food items, fodder for cattle and medicines. One respondent from MP said that the nearest vegetable vendor was seven kilometres away, and transport facilities were scarce.

  7. All but one of the 33 respondents received rations through PDS, but most claimed that the rations received were not adequate for sustenance keeping in mind their livelihood losses.

    Focus and Factoids by Sudisha Mishra.


Indo-Global Social Service Society, New Delhi


Indo-Global Social Service Society, New Delhi


May, 2020