The Rain-fed Livestock Network (RLN), anchored by the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), is a consortium that works in the livestock and natural resource management (NRM) sectors.
RLN operates by developing partnerships with various stakeholders and strives to address location-specific diversities while aiming at carrying out activities at a relatively large scale and for the right duration.
The Rainfed Livestock Network emerged as a result of the concerns raised by various individuals with regard to the need of a common platform that facilitated knowledge sharing among the various stakeholders in the livestock ecosystem. In 2008, a unified representation, a consortium of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) working on animal husbandry in the Indian dry lands decided to press for a multi-stakeholder arrangement to address the concerns of livestock holders on behalf of the livestock herders and so.
This perspective, they envisaged, could help popularize animal husbandry as a risk mitigation strategy, assist in stabilizing rain-fed agriculture and increase contributions to the rural economy while ensuring equity to groups that were ignored earlier. These NGOs aimed at enhancing the understanding about livestock rearing and expanding the scope for intervention by drawing the attention of civil society organizations (CSOs), donors and the government to certain aspects of the sector ignored earlier, especially in rain-fed regions.
Thus, came into being the Rainfed Livestock Network to invigorate rainfed livestock rearing in rural India.
The priority areas
RLN has identified five priority areas that not only can strengthen livestock rearing in the arid and semi-arid regions of India but also can have a potentially significant impact on the lives of the communities involved. RLN envisages building up momentum through its activities and influencing policies and actions on the ground, that focus on the issues and the concerns of the poor with special focus on the location-specific nature of the issues.
The five priority areas are
• Better Access to Markets
• Breed Conservation through development and emphasis on livestock keepers’ rights through the Biocutural protocols
• Livestock and Commons
• Healthcare through community and state interaction
• Backyard Poultry
Each of the five partner NGOS of the RLN network are nodal leads for each of the themes based on their work experience.
The Rainfed Livestock Network collaborates with the following NGOs located in various States across India for action pilots in their locations and shares good practices and strategies, by providing technical support and designing pilot interventions.
• MARAG in Ahmadabad
• SEVA and SKRF in Tamil Nadu
• Wassan in Hyderabad
• Future greens samste at Bhagalcot and Janastu at Bangalore in Karnataka
• LPPS in Jammu
• KJS in Belgaum
• Honeybee network node in Bhuvneshwar
• Seva Mandir in Udaipur
• SPS in Madhya Pradesh
The very first moves of RLN, after defining the critical themes/priority areas, was towards
organizing workshops around these themes. A workshop on ‘breed conservation’ was organized by LPPS at Sadri in February 2011. Speakers/participants were invited from all ICAR institutes, various agricultural /animal husbandry universities, NDDB, other NGOs working with livestock, besides representatives of livestock keepers. The workshop resulted in underlining the present status of livestock breeds, work happening in various parts of the country and the organizations involved. It helped in drawing a roadmap for the network on what needs to be done and what are the priority areas for action.