Cash crop, clamour for food cause fodder shortage

Cash crop, clamour for food cause fodder shortage

India's livestock count stands at 512 mn

India is facing a huge fodder shortage of up to 57 per cent of its total requirement as farmers use land for growing food and other cash crops.

As per official figures, the shortfall of dry fodder was 163 million tonnes or almost 40 per cent of the 416 million tonnes demand and the inadequacy of green fodder was 79 million tonnes or 36 per cent of the 222 million tonnes requirement. While the shortage of concentrate was up to 30 million tonnes or 57 per cent of the 53 million tonnes demand.

The Department of Animal Husbandry told the parliamentary committee on agriculture that the shortage of fodder was due to growing importance of food crops and other cash crops to meet the needs of the growing human population.

The figures furnished by the government, however, were of 2007 when NABARD Consultancy Services had conducted a survey on availability of fodder in the country.

The parliamentary panel, chaired by BJP MP Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav, was “perturbed” at the “callous and casual approach” of the department over lack of authentic data on demand and availability of fodder in the country.

“The committee are of the opinion that if the figures are not available with the ministry, there would be no focus on taking steps for bridging the gap between demand and supply,” the report of the panel said.

India is home to nearly 17 per cent of the world’s human population and has a share of about 10.7 per cent of total livestock resource. But it has only 2.3 per cent of the total land area in the world. As per the 19th Livestock Census, India’s livestock population stood at 512.05 million in addition to 648.83 million poultry. Officials said the Centre was in touch with the state governments for increasing the area under fodder cultivation.

The Centre has also launched a sub-mission on fodder and feed development as part of the National Livestock Mission 2014-15.