‘Farmers feel the heat as fodder turns scarce’

Srinagar—With the government failing to frame a comprehensive policy for the development of fodder production, it has been revealed that the Jammu and Kashmir state is losing 57.42 lac liters milk and 1.5 Lack mutton per day, due to the fodder scarcity.

As per the official report accessed by KNS, the average annual requirement of fodder for all the three regions Jammu, Kashmir Ladakh for live stock population is 92 Lac.

The report reads, “State of Jammu and Kashmir has a total livestock population of 92 Lacs for which fodder requirement is 125000 Lac hectares against availabilities 74000 Lacgs, which means there is a deficiency of 51000Lackgs. Due to fodder scarcity the genetic potential of animals both Large/small is not exploited resulting losses in milk 57.42 lac liters from the present population and 1.5lackgs mutton per day. In order to make sufficiency in fodder, the area under cultivation has to be increased from present 2.5-8% by bringing cultivable wastelands, fallowlands and orchard lands into cultivable farm,”.

Sources within the animal husbandry department told KNS that inability to feed livestock is forcing farmers to resort to distress sale of cattle.

“Finding green or dry fodder is a luxury in today’s times in Jammu and Kashmir. What is more worrying is that the worst is yet to come. The winter period is going to be the most challenging when farmers will need dry fodder more,” says one of the agriculture experts from the Baramullah.

He said it is fact that most of the districts especially in north Kashmir is running out of fodder.

The experts said that while for Punjab and Haryana, where nearly eight per cent of the total cultivable area is used for fodder, the shortage is limited; it is acute in the Jammu and Kashmir which grows fodder on less of its cultivable land.

Farmers said that shortage of fodder has hit milk production in all the regions of the state.

They (Farmers) lament that the shortage of the fodder has caused a telling effect on milk production. “Though we are always willing to cultivate the fodder, but the concerned department always fails to provide us seeds,” Habib-Ullah a farmer of Handwara said.

This farmer visibly in a state of helplessness told KNS, that though fodder is available in the market, but nothing can match the locally cultivated fodder, needed for maintaining the health of milk animals

Despite the data available with the sheep husbandry department that the state is losing the milk production, the concerned minister maintains there is no shortage of milk in the state. “It is true that the state is facing the fodder scarcity. But let me inform that for the first time we have submitted the detailed project to the government of India for the development of fodder production in the state,” the Sheep and Animal husbandry minister Abdul Gani Kholi told KNS over phone.

The minister maintained that though the cattle figures have come down but there is no shortage of milk in the state.

The experts in the Sheep husbandry are also worried over the shortage of fodder in the state. “We have submitted the detailed report to the government for the better production of fodder in the state. We are hopeful that government will soon consider it,” Deputy Director feed and fodder, Dr Iqal Hussain Mirza Ahmad told KNS.

He said that the reason behind the crisis is that nobody really cares about fodder in the state. “Despite the fact that the huge contribution of livestock in agriculture production, today’s crisis is a result of decades of negligence. Let me make it clear that fodder is right now nobody’s baby. It never got any attention from any quarter despite playing an important role in the rural economy,” the official said.

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