Enhancing livelihoods through livestock knowledge systems (ELKS)

A partnership between the Sir Ratan Tata Trust & its Allied Trusts and the International Livestock Research Institute to reduce poverty in rural India.

Economic growth, propoor shifts in government policies and new technologies are all creating big opportunities for tackling India’s rural poverty through livestock development. The country’s increasing affluence is creating new and growing markets for livestock foods, particularly milk and dairy products; eggs; poultry, goat and sheep meat; and, in some parts of the country, pork. The Indian Government, with its increasing focus on the rural poor, is providing a wide range of programmes to support development of marginal areas and disadvantaged peoples. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), 2005 for example, provides some of the country’s poorest families with jobs and incomes, while new agricultural producer companies are strengthening the bargaining positions of small-scale farmers in the marketplace.


This joint TATA-ILRI ELKS programme is an ambitious initiative to put the accumulated knowledge of advanced international livestock research directly to use by disadvantaged livestock rearing communities in rural India.

ELKS objective

To support SRTT & its Allied Trusts and their partners to enhance livestock based livelihoods in the hilly /tribal areas in Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand (India) by filling knowledge gaps, strengthening capacities and facilitating pro-poor policies.

ELKS approach

ELKS takes a scientific and evidence-based approach, employs consultations and diagnostic/scoping studies, and draws on the rich research livestock experience in India and other regions to identify appropriate pro-poor livestock intervention strategies.

ELKS support components

ELKS support by ILRI includes:
•    Formulation of breed development programmes appropriate in hilly and tribal regions and backstopping their implementation
Identify and promote sustainable and cost effective feeding technologies to bridge nutritional gaps, both quantity and quality

  • Value chain analysis and development of integrated models of goat and pig production and marketing to enhance livestock income of the poor
  • Pilot integrated service delivery packages
  • Facilitate development of effective mechanisms for swine fever and health control through a collaborative approach
  • Identify most limiting nutrients in pig nutrition and field test nutritional innovations
  • Prepare case studies on experiences /best practices /lessons learnt and share them through knowledge exchange platforms / face-to face meetings
  • Help identification of policy gaps in pro-poor livestock development and facilitate policy dialogue to scale up successfully tested models

ELKS management

ELKS is managed by a senior programme manager based in ILRI’s Delhi office and supported by technical officers and research associates based in Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand. A committee of representatives from the Trusts’ three initiatives (North East Initiative, Himmotthan Society and Central India Initiative) provide ELKS with oversight.