-By Kanna K. Siripurapu, Sajal Kulkarni*, & Sabyasachi Das Revitalizing Rainfed Agriculture Network, India. Address & Email of the Corresponding Author: Plot No-30, Near Renuka Mata Mandir,
Yashoda Nagar Phase-1, Post Jaitala, Hingana Road, Nagpur-440036. firstname.lastname@example.org
.Indigenous livestock breeds represent the collective heritage of the communities they are associated with, and cannot be
conserved separately from their production systems. Such breeds will survive only when indigenous knowledge systems in which
they have been embedded also survives. Modern livestock breeding and development programmes, however, heavily rely on only
a handful of livestock breeds and genes, with narrow range of quantitative traits such as – quick growth and weight gain, etc.
Further, such development programmes and associated extension and delivery systems seldom acknowledge the role of
indigenous socio-cultural, traditional economic, and indigenous knowledge systems in improvement and conservation of
indigenous livestock breeds and germ plasm. A study was conducted in eleven districts of the Indian state of Maharashtra to
examine the relationship and embeddedness of a specific indigenous livestock breed within the socio-cultural landscape of its
custodian indigenous community. Results of the study suggest that Indigenous livestock management systems are highly evolved
and well positioned for improvement and sustainable management of both the indigenous livestock and associated genetic
resources. However, indigenous knowledge on animal breeding is often “tacit” and not necessarily an expressed knowledge.
Unlike modern science, the indigenous livestock management systems rely mostly on qualitative traits. Acknowledgement of
their role and a little encouragement through designing inclusive institutions, extension services and delivery mechanisms could
take improvement and conservation of indigenous livestock breeds/populations a long way.
Key Words: Gaolao cattle, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous livestock, and Nanda Gawli community.
Indigenous livestock breeds have evolved over centuries within specific indigenous socio-cultural,
traditional economic, ecological, and indigenous knowledge systems (Marsoner, et al, 2018). They
represent the collective heritage of the communities they are associated with, and cannot be conserved
separately from their production systems. Such breeds will survive only when indigenous knowledge
systems in which they have been embedded also survives. Indigenous communities – especially
pastoralists – play an important role in the improvement and conservation of indigenous livestock
breeds/populations and stewarding the priceless indigenous livestock germplasm and gene pools (LPPS
and Köhler-Rollefson, 2005).