India has the highest concentration of human and animal interaction, contributing to strong human-animal-environment dependence vis-à-vis livelihoods and food and nutritional security. India is also a hotspot of several neglected zoonoses like Zoonotic Tuberculosis and Brucellosis besides various food borne diseases. This scenario has compounded the problem of Agriculture Associated Diseases (AAD), making it both complex and multifaceted, calling for interventions from different sectors. Dr. Purvi Mehta, former Head, Asia Region, ILRI, shares her views on peri-urban farming in India and suggests ways to address the growing vulnerability of humans and animals.
Udaipur is one of the projects sites for the India Research Initiative on Human-Animal-Environment Interface. Dr. Prakash C Sharma, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Genetics and breeding and PI buffalo project (Surti), Udaipur, provided insights into the overall dairy farming practices and marketing model found in Udaipur region of Rajasthan and the areas around.
As part of the PERIMILK study, PHFI/RCZI has partnered with Assam Agricultural University, Guwahati to conduct assessments, field surveys, testing and analysis of milk samples with the larger objective of bringing about improvements in public health, livestock health and overall sustainable development in peri-urban livestock farms. In an interview with “On the Fringes”, Professor R A Hazarika, Head, Department of Veterinary Public Health, Assam Agricultural University, Guwahati, shares the experience of the department, faculty and students on being part of this unique and innovative study.
As part of the PERIMILK Study, a team of qualitative researchers visited some of the project sites under the guidance and leadership of
Dr. Sarita Anand, Associate Professor, Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. They found that nearly 85-90% of the tasks on the farm were carried out by women. In some cases, even the milking was done by them and yet they did not feel they were doing more than their rightful share.Societal conditioning and role play made this skewed arrangement normal and acceptable to most of them. It was only where women were educated, from an upper caste or from a financially stronger background, that they could insist on a more equal distribution of tasks. Also, where ever women were assigned responsibility they did exceedingly well. Excerpts from an interview with Dr Sarita Anand, post the team’s visit to Bangaluru in Karnataka and Ludhiana in Punjab.
Peri urban areas are characterised by unorganised food production systems that cater to food security needs of urban areas. Growing population and urbanisation are creating new problems that are more pronounced in developing countries and in neglected areas like peri-urban agglomerations. According to Johanna Lindahl, Veterinary Epidemiologist, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), “Livestock production is not something that only goes on in rural areas. It practically goes on all around cities. In many cities, it is urban and more intensified in peri-urban regions. All intensification is not bad but there are risks associated with it. Keeping these risks under check and providing the right infrastructure is critical. We cannot stop producing food in urban cities, so we have to develop mechanisms to control them.” Excerpts from an interaction with Johanna.
It is now well recognised among policymakers that pandemic-prone as well as endemic zoonoses can be prevented and controlled through intersectoral coordination (ISC). The Roadmap to Combat Zoonoses in India (RCZI) Initiative embarked on a study in Intersectoral Partnerships for Zoonoses Prevention and Control in India: An Assessment, 2013, with the aim of identifying operational contours of such a mechanism. Dr. John Mcdermott, Director, CGIAR Research Programme – Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, International Food Policy Research Institute steered these discussions, playing a key role in developing a draft framework for ISC outlining how it would address issues related to zoonoses prevention and control. Excerpts from an interview with him.
There is increasing acknowledgement of the role cultural and societal drivers of zoonosis play as they coexist with forces of Urbanisation, Migration, Development, Gender, Livelihoods and Zoonotic Diseases, in acomplex and haphazard scenario of “rurbanisation”. Dr. Sanjay Chaturvedi, Head Department of Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi and Member, PHFI/RCZI EcoHealth Research Core Group shares his views.