Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Farmers in India | CIRCLE

Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Farmers in India | CIRCLE

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Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Okay, let's get started in  the interest of time. Welcome, everyone today   is the 13th seminar of our program which  has been sponsored and conducted by CIRCLE,   and I'll introduce CIRCLE in a second. What does  CIRCLE mean? It might have a different meaning   in everyone's mind, but today's seminar  is: Can next generation assisted   reproductive technologies enhance livestock  productivity and farm income in India?   I am Pavneesh Madan and I’m a professor of  biomedical sciences with a focus on reproductive   biotechnology at the Ontario Veterinary College  here at the University of Guelph. I'm also one   of the members of this CIRCLE and so the  interesting question is, what is CIRCLE?   Well CIRCLE is a new institution at the  University of Guelph established in February   of 2020, just last year. We are completing one  year and actually this is our anniversary - first  

anniversary - and it's been started at the  University of Guelph, as I mentioned.   It's the Canada India Research Center for Learning  and Engagement - learning and engagement are being   the key words, and then part of that process of  not only learning but engaging India and Canada   in a very interesting conversation. Our goal  is to build up an interdisciplinary nucleus   in Canada for the cutting-edge research on  India or the Indian diaspora to showcase,   advocate, catalyze, and foster an equitable,  respectful, and sustained exchange of knowledge   between Canadian and Indian scholars  on complex and emerging issues which   are related to sustainability, and the  social and economic well-being of mankind.   I would also encourage our audience to get  connected with us through our website or visit   our website. It's  and that's the website if you are   interested in taking a look at it  later, that would be welcome as well.   And the other important thing is our talk today  is being recorded, and it will make its way to   the website as well. As I said a lot of our  previous events are already on the website,  

so if you're interested in learning what CIRCLE  is doing for India-Canada connection, please   visit our previous conversations and talks. I'm at this juncture I’m going to introduce   the format for today. Our initial  format is we'll start with an opening   remarks about a title once I’ve introduced our  speakers, and then we will have a discussion   on the topic continue it up to the one hour  mark, and from there on we'll leave the last   20 or 25 minutes for taking up the questions  from the audience. But if, in the meantime,   you have questions along the way, please use  the chat function here and post your question   in the chat so that we can pick it up during  the question period. We'll also leave the last   five minutes for wrapping up the conversation,  building some conclusions, and at the end, also,   talk about our next, forthcoming event. Here are a couple of the housekeeping  

comments and instructions for today. I would  request all of you to kindly mute your mics   if you're not muted. If possible, please turn off  the video cameras. if it's not required right now.   You can turn them on again at  the time of question period.   You can also raise your hand using  the reaction button at the bottom.  

If you press the reaction button, you can  see there is a “raise your hand” feature,   and you can use that for asking questions. We  will keep an eye about who has raised their   hands so that we can invite you properly for  asking a question in a very systematic manner.   Please keep your comments and questions really  brief. We would really appreciate that you can   be precise and concise in your question.   So with that, I would love to introduce our  distinguished guests and speakers for today. And   for that, I'm going to start with our  first distinguished guest, and that is   Dr. Chauhan. Dr. Manmohan Singh Chauhan, the  director of National Daily Research Institute.  

And before I actually come and speak  about the laurels and the distinguished   career that Dr. Chauhan has had, I also want to  briefly speak about the institute that is National   Daily Research Institute. Some of you who may not  be aware of what this institute is all about, I   would like to mention that it's one of the premier  institutes of India. It's recently ranked number   one by the Indian Ministry, which is regulating  the ranking of different universities in India.  

Amongst the veterinary and  animal science institutions,   NDRI has been ranked number one not this year,  but consistently for the last few years. So,   you can imagine the quality of work that  happens at National Daily Research Institute.   At this structure, I would also like to introduce  Dr. Chauhan. Dr. Chauhan holds his master’s and  

PhD degrees from NDRI, and has trained in  several labs across the globe, including   a considerable part in Virginia Tech University  in the US, and then also a lot of labs in Europe,   with major parts being trained in the  Netherlands and also in Germany.   He has significantly contributed  towards the development and growth   of the assisted reproductive technologies in  India. He has actually seen and been at the   leading edge of the reproductive biotechnology  revolution, as we say in India. And before   his current appointment, Dr. Chauhan was the  director of CIRB institute, or CIRG in Magdu  

and Uttar Pradesh. And also, I want to mention  that his pioneering work in embryo biotechnology   has played a leading role in where  we are with respect to reproductive   technologies in India. I'll come back to you,  Dr. Chauhan, welcome to today's presentation.   Dr. Manmohan Chauhan: Good morning, good morning. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Yeah, and I'm gonna go to our   next distinguished speaker, Dr. Inderjeet  Singh. Dr. Singh is at the Guru Angad Dev   Veterinary and Animal Sciences University  (GADVASU) in Ludhiana and it's my   proud privilege to welcome him today. As all of you know, University of Guelph   and GADVASU, as we call him in Canada, has an MOU  in Research and Education, which has been signed   and re-signed two years back for next five years.  We are connected together, born more than one way,  

and it's our proud privilege to have Dr. Inderjeet  Singh with us today on this panel as well.   Dr. Inderjeet holds bachelor’s and master's  degrees in Veterinary Science and Animal   Husbandry from Hissar. He did his PhD in Animal  Reproduction from University of Liverpool, UK.   Before his appointment at the current institution,  Dr. Singh was director animal husbandry for the  

state of Punjab. It brings a very important  perspective about the animal husbandry and   livestock production from the forefront of  this scenario right from the grass roots level,   and that is animal sector in the villages  as well. Welcome, Dr. Inderjeet, and we   really look forward to your comments today. The last panel member of our distinguished   panel here is Dr. W. Allan King. Allan  King, or Allan as we lovingly call him,   is professor emeritus here at the Ontario  Veterinary College, University of Guelph.   Dr. King did his BSc and MSc degrees from Guelph  before getting his PhD from Uppsala University,  

Sweden and then coming back to Canada for his  post-talk at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,   University of Montreal. Then he was appointed as  a faculty member at Guelph and he has contributed   many years in University of Guelph in  the Department of Biomedical Sciences.   Dr. King was professor of OVC's department here,  and the only tier-one Canada researcher in animal   reproductive biotechnologies, which is a very  unique position he held for many years until   his retirement in 2018. He is also the currently  the co-founder and president of his new company   called Karyotekk which does a lot of karyotyping  work, cytogenetics work for the livestock sector.   I also want to mention that I was looking at some  of his contributions to science. Two things come  

up amazingly well in the whole scheme  of things, and that is he is probably   the leading contributor. His paper has been the  most cited in the field of veterinary medicine   ever. In 2012, it is one of the most highly  cited, where some of his work is most cited.   He has almost- he's just touching close to 10 000  citations. That speaks about how much of his work   has been recognized all over the world. So, with that, welcome Allan, and he’s all   the way just next door but we are, thanks to COVID  times, we are sitting in two different rooms and   sharing this through a virtual platform. So,  welcome to all the three speakers and without   further ado let me go first to Dr. Chauhan for the  opening comments about this very important topic  

about improving farmer livestock, you know,  livestock contributions towards farmer's income.   So, over to Dr. Chauhan. Dr. Manmohan Chauhan: Okay   let me… Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Yeah,   we can hear you. Dr. Manmohan Chauhan: Yeah, yeah.   So, thank you very much, Professor Pavneesh Madan.  

I saw him here, my guru and my mentor,   Professor Dr. Inderjeet Singh,   Professor Dr. W. Allan King,   and all the panelists here, as it has  been it is a great opportunity for me   to have interaction with the   imminent personalities working in  the area of reproductive biology.  

It has been said by Dr. Madan,   the topic which has been assigned, the role  of the assisted reproductive technologies,   to help India to have maximum production of the  elite animals and then maximum yield of the milk.   So, dairy has   traditionally been used as a socio-economic  and religious consideration in our country,   being undertaken by the farmers as incidental  to crop production, not as commercial farmers,   but commercial enterprise, per se. Despite the  largely substantive nature of the activity, the   rearing of dairy animals has cushioned the rural  households from instability in crop production,   serving as an important source of  supplemental income of the farm families.  

In past four decades, conditioned  by the factors such as the increase   in the productivity of dairy animals in India,  rapidly rising demands of milk in the urban areas   and greater monetary needs of rural  households to fulfill their growing demands   for non-agriculture commodities improvement  in milk procurement road infrastructure   etc., there has been buoyancy in marketed  surplus of milk from the rural areas.   Another change which has been observed  gradually, and which is taking place,   is the increased shift from the maintenance  of dairy animals on home grown feed inputs   and public goods, to purchase feed inputs   due to decreased size of land holdings and  shrinking common property resource base.   This setting in the train towards  commercialization of daily enterprises,   which would be   reinforced in the time to come, has  made today’s dairy farmers vigilant   about the economics of milk production. Unlike his presidents,   who was not very cautious about  the net returns from Delhi   and several costs components, did not  involve out of pocket expenses for him.   So, we have today a 107 billion US dollar market,   out of which 54 percent of milk is used  by farmers for self-consumption and   46 % is sold in the market, which  is around 49 billion dollars.  

So out of that, 70 percent is being  produced by unorganized sectors, being   maintained by unorganized sector and 30  percent through the organized series.   So as far as the cooperatives are  concerned, we have a 7 billion   US dollar market. You know that Amul is one  of the very important brands here in India,   which has 5 billion US dollar market. Here I can  tell you that hardly less than 70 percent of the   surplus milk is being handled by Amul, and just  2 billion is being handled by the Mother Dairy.   So, you can see that here, the 55 percent of  the private players are processing the milk   directly from our farmers. It has been said  many times that India has been the leading  

producers and consumers of dairy  products with a sustained growth.   So as far as the livestock is concerned,  we have total 535 million livestock.   As far as the cattle is concerned, we have a 192  million population of cattle and 109 buffaloes.   So, both the milk animals, if you just add this  together, cows and buffaloes, so you will have   125 million, and total milk production is  around 187 million, which is the first among   the milk producing country in the world. So these are the some of the observations. What we   have the overall growth rate in terms of the  dating. Here, we have around 6.6 percent,  

which has been observed during 2018 and 2019.  Per capita availability of milk here is 394 grams   per day, and what we expect by 2033 to  2034 is the country’s milk production   will be 330 million tons, which is has been  highlighted here in our NITI Aayog documents.   So what we are looking forward to, is to  have strategies to meet the challenges,   and the challenges are developing the  self-help group of land and small farmers.  

Also, establishing the emergency management  procedures and services, including communications   to mitigate rumors, which is around sometimes,  like during the COVID-19 situation.   What we are looking forward to have, and now  today we are also discussing in this aspect,   is a suitable breeding program.  In order to have a suitable   breeding program, we need to have an input  using the assisted reproductive technologies   and other developed technologies,  like the packages and practices,   and keeping the reproductive health by providing  the continuous veterinary service. These are the  

other aspects which we are looking forward. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thank you.   Dr. Manmohan Chauhan: And also,  the establishment of the efficient   blaze label myth procurement  system to increase the   domestic production. So these things we are  looking at, but today we will have more discussion   here in terms of the assisted reproductive  technologies. So this is my initial remarks,   and just see it over to Dr. Pavneesh Madan. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thank you so much, Dr. Chauhan  

for those opening remarks. We're gonna go to Dr.  Inderjeet Singh. And Dr. Singh, you bring your   vast experience with being the director of Central  Institute of Research on Buffalos, then being the   advisor to the Chief Minister of  Animal Husbandry Department, Punjab,   working in the grassroots level. How do you see   reproductive biotechnology playing a key role  in improving the farmers’ income as outlined by   the government, that by 2022, or now 2023,  or maybe by the next elections in 2024?   How can farmers enhance their income by  adopting several reproductive technologies?   Dr. Inderjeet Singh: Thank you. Am I audible? Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Yes, doctor,   you're absolutely clear. Dr. Inderjeet Singh: Thank you. So, I thank   you also for selecting the topic of increasing  the farmers’ income. Definitely the farmers are  

distressed. Maybe it is agriculture crop farmers,  or they are livestock farmers, whosoever they   are. We have seen that in the state of Punjab,  where I served for almost one and a half years   as director, at least 2000 dairy farms closed  down over the last five years or six years.   That's only because dairy farming is not  remunerative at all, and it requires lot of   physical labor. You don't have any spare time, you  don't have any hereditary data, and definitely,   these farmers, they are also educating nowadays  on the borders of our national capital. They are  

also perceiving threats to their livelihood  due to new laws: whether they are going to   take away their land or whatsoever they have  perceptions. But it is a fact that the income of   farmers visibly in other states of the society is  getting down and down with every passing year.   In spite of that, India has become number one  in milk production. But it's not because of  

the productivity of our livestock, because the  productivity is only 1850 kg per capita of our   livestock, which is much lower than the global  productivity - that is about 2500kg. So, we are   bringing down, we are pulling down the global  productivity of livestock in each lactation, and   that requires concerted efforts  put in for engaging the productive   potential of our livestock. Definitely, as we all know that   culmination of reproduction successfully leads  to production. So, reproduction becomes very   important as well. We have been number one in  beef exports as well from the country in 2015,   but thereafter due to some government change in  the government policies, we are not at number one,   but we are left behind Australia and Brazil to  be the number one in these exports as well.  

And that is the beauty of our native  livestock. That is buffalo, which gives   us about fifty percent of the bill, and that  is only the buffalo meat that is exported,   and that buffalo meat that's exported as  beef that brought India as number one.   Also, if we talk of the assisted  reproductive technologies,   the single most important and the simplest  reproductive technology which has brought the   transformation in animal husbandry  sector is artificial insemination.   It is artificial insemination that started  with frozen semen in early 50's that has   transformed the entire genotype, the  productive potential of our livestock.   We see same bull having its spread  across the globe, across the continents,   so that is the most important transformation,  and in that aspect I'm happy to share with you   that the government of India has given a lot of  emphasis on improving the AI services. Previously,  

when we were students. we saw that the AI  services were not good. It was more of a   failure story than success, and this was just  considered a burden by the field functionaries.   But now, people are realizing, and now  we have about 49 semen stations which are   A-grade accredited by the government of India.  The central monitoring unit is there, which   monitors all aspects, including record keeping  the output quality from all angles, and then they   certify these semen stations. Only A and B graded  semen station are allowed to sell their semen   across the country - others are not allowed -  so that is a very good thing that we have seen.  

From male aspect, we see another assisted  reproductive technology can be sex semen, and this   sex semen is very, very important, at least for  India, where the slaughter of cow is prohibited.   But when we go to the cow farmers in the field,  they claim that they don't have any much issue   about the birth of male cows because they don't  survive. They simply say that they don't survive,   but they are not allowed to survive, so they  don't need sex semen either way. But definitely,   it is very useful for as for replacement  refers, in case the technology is cheap.   At the current rate, about 1200 rupees per  semester for a normal bull, if it is sexed,   the farmers cannot afford to have used two straws  and to repeat the animal next time again with the   sex semen. However, with the new technologies  that are available, the conception to first in  

submission as high as normal convention semen,  about 45 to 47 percent is achieved in India,   which is a very good moment for this technology  to take for the strides in the country.   Another aspect of ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic  Sperm Injection) in case of males I don't   advocate to be used, because ICSI we use  only when there is some deficiency in the   spermatogenesis of the male, and I don't  think that we should advocate this type,   unless there is some other sentiments attached  with that particular male that some family wants   its offspring. But in livestock, I don't  see any reason we should promote this.   Then, the main aspect of assisted  reproduction comes in the female.  

For ages we have been trying different  technologies including synchronization of stress,   induction of stress, and lately this embryo  transfer technology- not just lately, also it   was also tried many, many, many years and decades  ago, but it worked, as we initially started.   The problem is of the hormonal  turmoil within the animal body   that the super-stimulatory hormones play  in the animal's body. So that is not always   desirable, and it is to be removed. Then came the OPU and IVF. We all know that   Brazil has made good progress with the opioids,  where 95% of the IVF are conducted in Brazilian   farms. They have made good use of this technology  to make progress in the improvement of their  

livestock, and those indigenous livestock which  belong to India have improved to outperform even   the exotic HF animals, or Holstein Friesian, in  milk production and that too of better quality.   Also, the government of India has opened  about 15 centers across the country, and now   some organizations are taking at the  farmers doorstep; they are taking embryos,   they are flushing the embryos, they are doing  OPU sessions, and these are transferred in the   field as well, so this technology is picking up. These 15 centers, almost 10 of them are very well   functional, including one at our institute. We  are doing in these the cloning, which is another   aspect that India has started with Dr. Chauhan  under his guidance and Dr. Singh, Dr. Madan,  

and others. With that CIRB, Central  Institute for Research on Buffalo,   they also produced about 10 clones  in the last three or four years,   and they have survived very well. A couple of  them which became adults have also performed;   they also donated good semen and with that  semen, the pregnancies have been achieved.  

But I would prefer if we are able to clone the  female animals so that we are sure of their   normality. It could be anything that's happening  in transgenics whether in cloning that is not   compromising something in these animals, then the  transgenics definitely there is some scope. But   definitely only from reproduction point of view it  has different pharmaceutical applications, etc.  

Genomics: if we have to apply for reproduction  it will be only for two aspects. One is the high   fertility, and second is frequency. If we talk  of small animals like goats, we have to identify   the genes which are there for fertility, or any  technology which improves their frequency. So,   that's all from me. Thank you so much. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thank you so much Dr.   Inderjeet for those opening remarks. That gives us  a lot of material to go forward with in the next   round. There's certainly more to talk about;  some of the beautiful points you pointed out,  

but you actually made a game perfect case  for taking this this question to Allan,   because you talk about the Brazil  story and what they have done.   There's no better person today around  here who can actually talk about that,   because he has been at the forefront of  helping the Brazilian government and sector   in improving their whole animal science scenario,  with contributions from a Canadian perspective.   Allan, that would be a perfect way for you to  come into the picture. Tell us about how you  

see reproductive technologies, and how you think  that has steered some of the rules and regulations   with respect to improving income in Brazil. Dr. King: Okay so thank you very much, Pavneesh.   It's really great to be here, and I want to start  with the disclaimer that - or a claimer, I’m not   sure which - that the reason I’m sitting here is  because of my long-term connection with India.   So, I was an undergraduate student who really  didn't have a focus in where to go, and I happened   to take the medical genetics course from Dr.  Parvathy Basrur originally from Cochin, I think,   in Kerala, and then a graduate from Bangalore.  She came to the University of Toronto in 1954,  

did her PhD, and ended up as a professor in  this department actually where I’m sitting now.   She brought the point home that there was a  really important connection between genetics,   reproduction, and animal health, and that was  sort of what guided me in my future direction.   So now that I’ve retired, and retired  in this confusing time of COVID,   I’m spending a lot more time at home, I’m spending  a lot more time with my three-year-old grandson,   and he is very much fascinated by the large  equipment for construction. So, when we go  

for walks, we look at trucks, bulldozers and  excavators, and through his eyes I can see that   one tool can be used for multiple applications. We can see an excavator digging a hole,   we can see an excavator planting a tree, we can  see an excavator building a road, constructing   a house, and to me that's what reproductive  biotechnology is. It is a biological-based machine   that you can use for multiple things, depending  on what your requirements are, what you can do,   what environment you're working in. But most of all, what you can imagine   its application. So, if we look at how  reproductive biotechnologies have come about,  

they've come through fundamental research,  fundamental understanding of reproduction,   reproductive physiology, and then moving from  basic research to field applications, to breeding   companies, to the farmers, to the producers. So, it's this chain of events   that has led to an amazing revolution, actually,  in animal agriculture levels of production.   One of the really interesting things for us,  and we've discussed it already a little bit,   is that it's applicable to- [adjusting] Sorry, I’m  just checking my time. It’s applicable to multiple   species, and so both Pavneesh and I have research  labs in the Reproductive Biotechnology and Health   Unit of the Ontario Veterinary College. Our  labs, among others, produce a number of graduates  

trained in reproductive biotechnologies. Where they go after graduation varies   a lot, but they have a similar background. So they  end up in human in vitro fertilization clinics   because of similarity between the  bovine embryo and the human embryo.   They end up in medicine human medicine,  veterinary medicine, they end up in   biotechnology companies, stem cell research  organizations, they end up in business,   and we're very pleased to say that one  of our graduates is the deputy minister   of human health in Ottawa, heavily involved in  the COVID situation that we're living with.   So, from the Canadian perspective, we  initiated, like other countries in the   artificial insemination in the  post-World War II era, so in the 50s,   becoming more and more accessible, becoming  more developed and adapted to our agricultural   schemes to our climate, to our environment. Then the next phase of getting really applied  

biotechnology off the ground was our  interest in importing genetic material   from other sources, and we turned to importing  what we called exotic cattle from northern Europe,   central northern Europe. So, we imported  these exotic breeds, but our system is,   animals are quarantined for a long period of  time before they are allowed into the country.   One way then of speeding the production and  proliferation of these animals was through   super ovulation and embryo transfer. So, these  were to become the foundation for rapidly   integrating and then multiplying  valuable genetics. So, we work together  

domestically and internationally. The next phase of the development in Canada was   we began to move towards in vitro fertilization,  and in vitro fertilization has a long history in   the fundamental research that was necessary  to reach the point where successful offspring   were born. Of course, we admire and look  to Sir Robert Edwards, the person who   initiated and developed the first human in vitro  fertilization for successful fertilization,   which resulted in the live birth in 1977. I should note that his PhD was from Edinburgh,  

in the Institute of Animal Genetics and  Physiology, and much of his early research   was conducted on the physiology of reproduction  in domestic animals. So, we have a long integrated   history in other species, we have a long  history in wild and endangered species,   using these as you are to increase the number  and population of your indigenous cattle.   So, my experience here has been we have gone  from in vitro artificial insemination, to embryo   transfer, to in vitro fertilization and ovum  pickup, to the commercialization of these areas.   We did some work with cloning, although we  do not officially allow the use of cloning   in Canada. We are working together with companies  and individuals for stem cell technologies.  

Also the genomic revolution, which has now spread  to the point where we don't do our bull testing   the way we used to. It's become very rapid. We  do it through gene screening and gene technology,   so that we can predict the future production  levels of our bulls’ dissemination without   needing to go through the long periods of breeding  and evaluating the production of their daughters.   So, we've gone through some very basic  technologies, to some of the best technologies   which have sped up the development, the  dissemination and the increase in product   production levels. I think these are very critical  and important technologies which come into play.   How's my time Pavneesh? Dr. Pavneesh Madan:   Yeah, it's just a minute before you wrap up. Dr. W. Allan King: Okay so I just want to then   briefly touch on my experience  and what I’ve seen in Brazil,   because we also have strong student training  and collaboration back and forth. India has a  

very strong connection to animal agriculture in  Brazil, so there are two breeds of cattle which   are very noted and very important. One is the  Nelore breed, which, Pavneesh, you’ll have to   tell me which region of India they originated in? Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Andhra Pradesh.   Dr. King: They first appeared in  Brazil I think 1890-something,   and they have now become one of the leading  breeds of cattle because of their adaptability,   because of their production parameters,  because of the tolerance of climate and so on.   The other success story for Brazil has been the  creation of a synthetic breed the Girolando.  

It's a cross between Gyr cattle and  Holstein Friesian, and 80% of the milk   in Brazil now comes from this breed of cattle. The final production cattle are 1/8 – 2/8 Gyr and   6/8 – 7/8 Friesian. So they have slowly been  integrated, developed, selected for the adaptation   to the climate to the environment. Finally,  where I’ve been most impressed, has been the   water buffalo. Brazil now has about one and a  half million water buffalo - I know that pales   in comparison with the 150 million water buffalo  in India, I think it's something like that.   But the origin of the water buffalo were  largely from India, and now they're working very   diligently to increase the number and the level of  production. There are some problems, as you know,  

with reproduction in water buffalo. Embryo  transfer has largely been not very successful   due to the difficulty of flushing the reproductive  tracts, but going in the direction of ovum pickup   and in vitro fertilization, progress  is now being made on a routine basis.   Interestingly, Canada now is a producer of water  buffalo. We have a stunning total population  

of less than 2000 animals, and we're trying  to develop those to survive in our climate,   survive in our housing of the animals, survive  in our production. So we turn very often to   colleagues and experts in Brazil and in India, so  I think we've worked in a bi-directional exchange   of students’ knowledge, information, and it's been  very productive for both of our countries - all of   our countries. I think that's where I am for now. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thanks, Allan. You really   helped us take this discussion into a  different direction. For all our listeners,   I just want to reiterate the  reason why we wanted to go   away from PowerPoint slides and presentations,  because I find during this COVID time a lot of   people have been giving that presentation slide  mode, and it becomes less interactive. So our  

goal is to keep this interactive, so if you have  questions please start putting them in the chat so   that we can pick it up during the question hour. But with that, I’m to go back to Dr. Chauhan and   lay out one of the first elephants in the  room. I think today's panel is going to be   releasing some of the elephants out from  the chamber, and I think one of the biggest   elephants in the room has been that about close  to 85 percent of our farmers in India are marginal   and small, but they own up to only about 45% of  the land while possessing 75% of the cattle.  

So, I think our goal is how do we change this  dynamic, how do we help the marginal farmers   through the reproductive technologies, what  can we develop as a strategy? If we have to   put our thinking hats and critical hats and  say let's work as scientists and say how can we   reshape the marginal farmers’ lives, what  will be your first two or three points? I   know a lot can be said but quick three points. Dr. Chauhan: Yeah it's a quick case like this:   so we need to have a quality bull availability to  them number one, or the artificial insemination   program properly. For that we have to, as  a scientist, we have to work on the genomic   selection of superior bull and calf, and once we  have a genomic selected animals - superior animals   - and particularly both so those both can be  utilized for the artificial insemination program.   But as far as the assisted reproductive  technologies are concerned, what we need   to do is we need to move further. Where we can  have, as is it has been said, through ovum pickup.  

We can go for IVF and then produce a superior,  improved or progeny tested bull semen and produce   the quality bulls, and which will be available for  subsequent AI program, once you have an AI program   suitable. So definitely it is going to improve  the marginal or small farmer's livelihood.   Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Dr. Chauhan, the interesting  part from this is that whenever we come up   with some kind of these solutions, including  genomic selection and providing some incentive,   it's always, they say, the big farms and the  private sector always comes and hogs the first, we   call the cake of, or the cream of, the process. The marginal farmers always are left behind   because something has not reached them so how  do we go through this barrier? If you can have   some quick comments about how to go direct  to the marginal farmer, how we can bypass   the big dairy sector the big farmers who can  afford everything? We can bring a technology   and they say, “Yes, give it to me, bring it to my  door, because I can pay you x amount of money.”   Our marginal farmer stays out of this process. Dr. Chauhan: You see, that opponent is the biggest  

problem. What we have in the farmer’s  sector is, particularly the marginal and   smaller farmers, they do not have a sufficient  money available with them. So therefore,   the government of India has taken their  step for boosting the dairy sector in India,   and they have launched many programs like the  Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairy.   So some of the programs are there, like the  sustaining of the health of livestock and also   enhancing the productivity of milk animals through  the extension of artificial insemination coverage,   which was initiated in 2019. Similarly,  like last year, local mission, which is  

there like conservation as well as  promotion of domestic dairy animals.   For this, the fund has been allocated and grown  by around 500.But what we have learned here   is mainly that we have an artificial insemination  program going on. I have been told by the  

many, many state governments people that they have  inseminated around 70 to 80 percent population.   But in terms of the calf on the ground, you can  see hardly 30 percent, so it still means that we   need to have improvement in this direction. Doctor Inderjeet is there, he   knows what is the situation in farmer's sector,  and in the field level. But definitely we need  

to have very well-skilled manpower in terms of  the inseminators. What we have is inseminator   probably or para-veterinarian. They are not  well knowledgeable to use the available semen.   Also, some of the maintenance of the  semen, they are in their local clinic.   Of course, the government of India is looking  forward to have the proper system. So there   are many programs which have been initiated and  hopefully once these programs will be implemented   properly, the achievements will be made. But as a  scientist, what I believe that our job is to train   the manpower to have a very good skill, give them  training in our center, in our institute and then   once they go back to their respective clinic,  they are going to use this in their respective   area there and the improvement will be made. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thank you, Dr. Chauhan.  

Let's go to Dr. Inderjeet, and Dr. Inderjeet  would you like to add something to this   helping the marginalized section of the  society? How we can improve the productivity   of farm animals for this sector especially? Dr. Inderjeet: Yes. You said rightly that   these small and marginal farmers have 40  percent of the land, but they have 75 to 80   percent of the livestock holdings. So it is more  equitable as far as the holding is concerned,   the livestock holding, it’s more equitable.  Then, we have to see the environmental practices  

that are practiced by them. There, they are having  only one, two, three animals at the most, and they   are kept tethered all the time, so there the  main casualty is the heat detection. So even the   simplest technology of AI, of ART, fails there. So the first requirement is to have a very   foolproof heat detection method or technology  available to them, so that they can get their   animals inseminated with better quality semen  and they get a better quality calf. Second,   as Dr. Chauhan said, it is very important  that the inseminator who goes there   is competent enough to ensure high fertility  in the first insemination. Otherwise, their  

faith in the technology is also  failed and they don't go for   insemination. They would rather go for  a male bull which is first available,   notwithstanding what its genetic makeup  is. The third aspect will be if the semen   with better fertility can be made  available to these type of farmers,   definitely they can reap better benefits. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thank you so much,   Dr. Inderjeet for those comments.  Allan, what are your thoughts about  

this? Did a similar approach work really well in  Brazil? What are your thoughts about the points   mentioned by Dr. Chauhan and Dr. Inderjeet? Dr. King: I agree with all of the comments. One is   to have an outreach to the producers, and  they have to trust the technology that you're   providing. I remember I’ve spoken to farm groups  when we were talking about transgenic livestock,   talking about cloning and they say, “Oh, we  don't want this biotechnology stuff.” And I say,  

“Okay, do you use any biotechnologies in your  production?” “No, we don't use any.” “Okay,   do you do artificial insemination?”  “Oh yeah, we do that.”   “What about embryo transfer?”  “Oh yeah, we do that.”   So the awareness of where one technology becomes  a routine thing, and where it's a novel thing,   is very great. I think we need to be ambassadors  for making sure that people are aware that   this is just a progression of what we've been  doing and we need to do that through training.  

I totally agree we need to have artificial  insemination that's going to work. We don't   want to try to get people to use it and they end  up having to use a bull that's available because   AI is not performed at the right time, under  the right conditions. So once you do that and   it fails a few times, you lose credibility.  So I think that's really important.   I think it's really important that you say for  the marginalized farmers to be able to affordably   access technology that's going to not only keep  their milk flowing, but also provide the next   generation of milk producers that are going to  be more productive. So sex semen and efficient   AI and heat detection. I think those are critical  to be able to reach the smaller farmers.  

Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thanks, Allan. Since we  are short of time, I’m going to go to the   other elephant in the room before we open it  for our wonderful audience to bring in their   questions. The other elephant in the room has  been something I brought up at the web conference   and I got a couple of emails after that  because some people thought that I was   much bold than the occasion required to say  that, but that is another elephant which   I think both India and Canada need to talk about. And that is what is indigenous and what's foreign.   The indigenous, and I think the point  Dr. Inderjeet Singh brought about, that  

more and more farms are closing. Farmers are  giving up on cattle because it's not becoming   sustainable. The cost of production is higher than  they can envisage and in that, because there was   a kind of a trend going towards- there's a popular  conversation about keeping indigenous cows. Which,   to begin with, have an average of two to three  liters of milk, and they're consuming as much   nutrition, consuming as much resources,  but they are producing so little milk.   On top of that, they are closing down because  they said, “Oh we started a dairy farm with the   indigenous cows, but look what has happened to  the productivity.” There is also some resistance  

in improving the crossbred ratio in those cows so  that they can still maintain the good genetics.   They can keep their disease resistance,  they can keep the tick resistance, they can   keep all the drought resistance in the breed,  but at the same time bring the milk productivity   genes from another foreign cow. In a country which accepts corn   as a makki ki roti, and say it is indigenous.  A country which says rajma, which is Mexican   red beans, is Mexican and believes it's  something which is indigenous. Why do we  

have this hypocritical atmosphere that when one  thing is indigenous, we don't question anything,   but when it comes to cows, suddenly  cows become untouchable if it's foreign.   I think we as scientists have to apply  our mind and I think we want to brainstorm   here today a little bit. Brazil did this wonderfully. They adapted.   Canada did it wonderfully. We brought all HF from  Europe and today we call it Canadian Holsteins   because we indigenized everything and I think  Brazil did the same. I find there's some   problem with the acceptability, why we can accept  everything foreign in India. I saw a video of some  

farmer who was proclaiming why we should have  indigenous cattle, with an iPhone in his hand.   He can accept an iPhone in his hand, but he's  not willing to accept a cow which is similar   to any other cow in the world. So what are your thoughts about that? Did   we lack in publicly teaching our people? Or do  we need more public awareness? Can we have an   extension programs to talk about the benefits of  cross breeding and how that will be beneficial for   improving productivity with keeping the animal  number low, yet doing more? With that, I'll start   this time reverse with Allan first. Dr. King:  

Oh, that's a hard question, Pavneesh.  I’m not really sure how to how to answer   this but you know- Dr. Pavneesh Madan:   That's why I said it's an elephant in the  room: we need to start talking about it.   Yes, elephants are kind of big sometimes.  For us, we didn't have indigenous cattle,   so everything was imported. We do have magnificent  Holstein cattle today, and they first came to  

Canada less than 200 years ago, so it's a  testament for what you can do with selection   and careful breeding. But how to reconcile the  concept that Bos taurus and the Bos indicus   are different, yes, they are, but they still  came from the similar early genetic origins.   On how to destigmatize a native breed from  something like the Girolando, which is a mixture   of- to save and enhance the best qualities of both  lines. To me, that's the way to go. But how do   you make it palatable? That I don't know, other  than education and making it aware to people.   I can give you an example from when people were  trying to destigmatize genetically modified   animals, which we have not succeeded with  yet. There was a suggestion, “Well why don't  

we do genetically modified goldfish, so that  there's some green ones, some fluorescent ones,   and then people see that they're just like  any other goldfish, just a different color?”   Okay that didn't really work, but the idea is we  have to make people aware that these are animals   and they are genetically related. They have  maybe originated on different continents,   or came from different continents  but they are genetically related.   Dr Pavneesh Madan: Thanks, Allan. Let's go to  Dr. Inderjeet. Dr. Inderjeet, do you have any   thoughts about how we can change the paradigm  or bring some change in the public thinking?   Dr. Inderjeet Singh: Yes I think the  crossbreeding. We had our good indigenous breeds,   they were quite good in milk and their milk  quality was also very good. But the breeders and   policy makers of those decades of the 70s and 80s,  they did not bother much about blind breeding.  

Otherwise, it should have been restricted  to the lower end of our indigenous stock.   But the people who were having the  best genetics of our indigenous   animals, they grabbed the artificial insemination,  cross breeding first of all, because they were   more aware than others. So that way, our best  animals of indigenous breeds got converted into   cross breeds. What Brazil has done, they have very  good means, balance, as Professor Allan said, that  

they have a 67 to 70 percent blood of HF and about  30 to 33, or maybe even 28 percent of this breed.   Girlando is the best breed of cross available in  the world as of today, as far as milk production   is concerned, and India also has to think  on the same lines: we have to back cross our   indiscriminately cross-bred animals which have  unknown foreign inheritance. So, if we breed   them back to a stage where their indigenous blood  remains about 25 to 30 or 33 percent, then maybe   the performance will be better. In to that end,  

what we proposed to the government of Punjab and  government of India when, last year, at the time   of republic day, the Brazilian president was  the chief guest at the political function,   we proposed that we should  import high-end Gyr semen.   Using these cross-products that we  have, they may have 90 percent or 98%   exotic inheritance, and if we breed them with  our dear animals, that will be about 50/50 or   whatever. Because the productivity and the body  size of both these animals is similar, I don't see   any danger in breeding these animals then. Secondly the reason for our breeders’ and  

policymakers’ failure in those decades could also  be that the system of our husbandry doesn’t have   large farms. We only have people with one or two  animals, and they are usually not well-educated.   So, it was just like we see in the crop farming  sector: if this year the potato rates are high,   next year everybody will join the potato industry,  and that rate slumps down. If somebody used this   cross breeding, if everybody started, irrespective  of what type of indigenous animal he had.   On the other hand, we also have very  beautiful indigenous animal that is buffalo,   that is one hundred percent indigenous as Allan  said. It belongs to India and India is proud that   we have the best of buffalos, maybe it Murrah,  Nili-Ravi, Jafrabadi, Surti, Banni, or whatever.  

And if we invest in our animal husbandry sector,   focusing more on buffalo than reviving  the indigenous, I think that will   be a wise investment. Dr. Pavneesh Madan:   Thank you so much, Dr. Inderjeet. Dr.  Chauhan, what are your thoughts about-   Dr. Chauhan: Yes, your question was why the  Indians are not accepting the crossbred animal,   this was your major emphasis. What  we have learned in India is that  

we rate the milk on the basis of the fat  availability or fat percentage and also the SNF.   So many times it has been said that the  crossbred animal has less fat and less SNF.   The other thing that we know is that today, after  going through this, as far as the milk production   is concerned, the crossbred is producing around  six to eight liters of milk per day. But here,   indigenous are producing around three  to four kg. Lesser than four, rather,   three kg. About three kg milk per day. But what we have observed is beside this,   there is the problem in case of the crossbred  animals. The major problems are infertility,  

repeat breeding, stress detection, and also  some of these are prone to disease. What we   have observed is that, of course, we need to have,  as a scientist, put the emphasis here to remove   the infertility from the crossbred animals. Because, in many parts, like Haryana and Punjab,   it has been observed that after third lactation or  third to fourth lactation, crossbred animals are   not going for the next establishment of pregnancy  because of the repeat breeding. Therefore, these   things and probably because of this- and  also very recently, the other aspect is that   we are having a lot of discussion  about the A1 and A2 milk.   It has been said that in India, Indian  indigenous animals have A2 milk,   which is good for the health. Of course, lot of  research is required in this direction. Without   the proper research, we cannot say. But now,  everywhere, it has been said that A1 milk is not  

good for the health. We have indigenous animals  where A2 milk is available. So, better to opt   for the indigenous animals rather than having  the exotic animals or the cross-bred animals.   So, of course, we have to give the knowledge to  the farmers, which is lacking. As a scientist,   we have to train the farmers. We have to say that  nothing is there in terms of the A1 and A2. Also,  

what we have observed is the other part: the total  life of indigenous and the cross-bred animals,   the productivity are, in terms of economics,  almost the same because indigenous animals can   go up to the eighth or ninth lactation, and in  case of the crossbred animals, we observe that   after the third or fourth, there are problems.  Therefore, probably the farmers are not   accepting the crossbred animals. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thank you so much,   Dr. Chauhan, those were wonderful thoughts.  There's so much more to talk about,  

especially with A1 and A2 milk and how a couple  of blogs disturbed the whole world. There is still   controversy; some people say there is difference,  some people say there is no difference. More   studies are coming and saying it was all a bogus  study and we are still trying to ascertain whether   there is some more merit to the A1-A2 story, but  that's something, as scientists, we need to really   put some other scientists on this project and  say, “Let's decipher it and tell the world what   the real story is, vis-a-vis India as well.” But since we are lacking much time, I want to   really have good discussion from our audience,  I'm going to take some questions. Please raise   your hand so I can systematically invite you one  by one. If you see a smiley face to the corner,   there's a little plus sign on it. If you  press it, it will say “raise your hand,”  

and we can take your questions. In the meantime, there is a question   from Dr. Sumit Singhal, who wants prospects  of sex semen with ICSI and bovine. Sumit, I'm   planning to do another interactive session down  the road where we will be talking about sex semen,   the semen technologies especially, bringing the  experts in this field to the floor. I’m planning  

to have that discussion in one of our next  seminars, so stay in tune we'll spend a lot of   time on sex semen technology ICSI on that seminar. Also, there's a question from Dr. Shyam Zawar.   Dr. Zawar, again, one of my mentors when I  started working in India: “Can I get a minute   to give some updates on IVF in India?” I know I  learned embryo transfer partly from Dr. Zawar, so   Dr. Zawar please come on the mic, but please keep  it brief if you want to just give a comment about  

what raymond is doing now with IVF. Dr. Zawar: Thank you very much. I just   wanted to add a couple of things in the context  of India. We definitely need a lot of boost for   backing of our AI program and for that, ART has  got, particularly ovum pickup and IVF has got,   a lot of potential. In context to that, yesterday  there was a meeting with the government of India,  

and it was decided to have about 200 000 IVF  pregnancies established over the next three years,   through which the National Daily Development Board  is going to be the implementing agency, and the   end implementing agency will be the milk union. So they have shortlisted 87 milk unions of   the country spread across 15 states and then  they are going to invite the tender from the   agencies, who look to be right now  about four agencies, who could be doing   this work at the doorstep of the farmer.  Considering the cost of about 275 to 300   dollars per IVF pregnancy, the government  has decided to give a subsidy of 5000 rupees,   which works out to around 75 000 dollars  approximately that will be given by the   government for every IVF pregnancy established. Then, coming quickly within few seconds, I want  

to say JK Trust has been a leading organization  in the country and right from 1975 we have been   working on embryo transfer in sheep, and then goat  and cattle. Since 2016 we moved into the cattle   and we have been working on IVF and there is a  lot of potential, I feel, even in buffaloes.   Also the initial success which we got in some  trials was in buffalo. We look forward to doing   a lot more work in buffalos. Our work right now  is focused on the indigenous cattle, also and all   type of breeds and we have produced. Near  about thousand IVF of calves to date.   Thank you very much for this time given to me. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thank you so much, Dr. Zawar,  

for those wonderful remarks and bringing us up to  date from yesterday's meeting with the government   of India. That is something as latest as we can  get in terms of the information. Thank you so   much, Dr. Zawar. Any other questions before  I go back to the panelists to see if we can   address all the other points they mentioned? There are no further questions. I'll wait for  

a second more. Raise your hand if  you can. If not, I'm gonna go back   to Dr. Chauhan this time and go back to- oh, Dr.  Sumit has raised his hand. Dr. Sumit, go ahead.   Please turn on your mic and ask your question. Dr. Sumit: Hello, yeah, so, I'm audible?   Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Yes, yes you are. Dr. Sumit: So,   A1-A2 is always a controversial issue. So,  as we are also the part of the government,   and we are planning like that, should  we give knowledge or should we say to   farmers there is no difference between a1  and a2? There should not be any platform that   these scientists should discuss with  government, so that such confusion should   not be created and should be on only one side. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Great point.  

Dr. Sumit: Because it is always a confusion.  Farmers are put on the confusing side.   Dr. Chauhan: Yes, Sumit, thank  you for raising this issue. Last   week we had a discussion with the  BIS, who makes the standard for   whatever we have in terms of the milk products  and not really the products. There was a  

discussion about the A1 and A2, and then last  year we had also the brainstorming session,   Professor Madan is here, on the A1-A2 by  National Academy of Agriculture Sciences.   It has been clearly mentioned in that document  that there is no difference as far as the impact   of A1 and A2 on the human physiology,  clearly mentioned that there is no such   difference, or clinical observations, or  scientific reports available on A1-A2, whether   A1 is harming the human physiology or  A2 is benefiting the human physiology.   So we can have that discussion in India, and you  are the better person to explain to the farmers,   to the community, and to our people that  there is no difference between A1 and A2,   so they are equally good. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: I think once that message   also goes to the farmers about this non-difference  that exists, maybe more farmers are willing to   go with the prescribed line of cross breeding, so  that the genetic material does not cross above 60   or so from terms of the crossbred line. I  think there comes more opportunities for   farmer to improve their productivity based on  the conversation and our simple, informative   process will help us reach out to farmers  to improve their livelihood as well.  

Any other question from the audience? Dr. Sumit: Thank you, sir.   Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Thank you,  Sumit, for that wonderful question.   Dr. Sumit: Thank you. Dr. Pavneesh Madan: If not, I'll go to   Dr. Inderjeet. Dr. Inderjeet, the point that was  mentioned was also about when we look at improving   the livestock or the farmer's income, the crop  improvement or the productivity in the farmland   has a ratio of impact factor of only one to 1.8,  but when it comes to enhancing their livelihood by   improving the productivity or adding value  addition to the milk or doing anything   related to dairy, then the impact factor of their  livelihood improvement improves by one to eight,   which is almost eight times if they  are only dependent of crop sciences.  

Knowing this very well, that that is going  to be a game changer in improving the income   of the farmers, what would be the  top three policies you will create in   terms of extension from your new university,  so that the grassroot level farmers- I   know farmers in Punjab are already very  aware of much higher productivity, but   I want to use the Punjab experience to let the  other parts of India know that this is something   that can be done to improve the farmer income. Dr. Inderjeet: Well, if it's only related to ART,   I think it can be only the AI and the sex semen  application with proper heat detection aids.   In to that end, the organized firms are  also using the precision farming nowadays   in Punjab. They have these electronic  heat detection devices on each cow,   which tells the precise time for  insemination for high consumption rate.   But that's not the case with all the farmers, and  especially with the small and marginal farmers.  

So the most important factor that's going to  increase the productivity of our livestock of what   germplasm they are, is the balanced nutrition. If  we can improve the nutrition, that will not only   improve their productivity,  but also the reproduction.   That is one aspect, and the  second advantage of this ART,   especially the embryo technologies, is that we  can, as Professor Allan said in the beginning,   we can transport the plan from across  the continents, across the countries,   without any risk of importing exotic diseases.  That has been very emphatically researched and   shown by Professor Elizabeth Singh from  Canada, that all sorts of different microbes,   viruses, protozoa are not transmitted with  embryos. So, this is the biggest advantage.   But as far as the small and marginal farmers  are concerned, if they can get regular cycles of   reproduction, regular cycles of calving, that  added with the balanced nutrition, is the best   they can do. Recently, we were having a meeting  for a group for creating the daily roadmap for   the state of Punjab. When we went to the different  farms, we also saw that even the most important  

component of dairy or for a dairy animal is water.  It was not available, aptly, to lactating animals.   If that simple practice is changed, that the  water is made aptly available, good quality water,   then definitely the animal's  productivity will increase.   Dr. Pavneesh Madan: Yeah, thank you. Dr. Chauhan,  would you like to add something on those lines?   Dr. Chauhan, you are still on  mute. If you could unmute.   Dr. Chauhan: Yeah. Nutrition is a very, very  important aspect and you see that, as it has been   said, that what we have learned is that around 60%  cause of rating any animal, or any dairy animals,   the nutrition input is required. Also, sometimes  we are going to check the heat, because if the  

farmers miss one heat, he is going to lose around  5000 rupees per heat and miss out on opportunity.   So it means, therefore, that proper management  practices are required. Some of what we have   learned is that the mineral mixture ability  is very, very important to the farmers,   the dual stuff, because sometimes they are giving  the feed properly, without taking care of the   trace elements. You know that in reproduction,  the zinc and copper is very, very important,   so you need to have a supplementation  in terms of the mineral mixture or   area-specific mineral mixture which can  enhance the productivity of the animals.  

The other aspects is like this: we  say the proper vaccination is timely.   Sometimes, what we saw was that farmers believe  that the animal is fine, everything is okay. He   doesn't care about the deworming of the animals.  What we have observed particularly in goats and  

in the other ruminants, if you are not giving the  deworming to the goat in time, you are going to   lose around the 15 to 20 percent of the overall  growth of the goat, so thereby, you lose the meat   production. So these are some of  the aspects. Therefore, we have to   give the emphasis to train

2021-03-29 17:22

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