- A recent study by the Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute has observed that for every 100 kg of feed required, India is short of 23.4 kg of dry fodder, 11.24 kg of green fodder, and 28.9 kg of concentrate feed.
- In this context, the Indian government has recently announced a Feed and fodder entrepreneurship program-a Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed.
Significance of Livestock in India
- Major source of cash income and insurance against crop insurance: livestock is the major source of cash income for about 13 crore marginal farmers and is insurance in the event of crop failure.
- Helps in poverty alleviation: Improving livestock productivity and management would help alleviate poverty as about 200 million Indians are involved in dairy and livestock farming.
- Potential for Improved Farmers Income: As studies have indicated that by growing fodder crops one can earn ₹1.60 by investing ₹1 as compared to ₹1.20 in the case of common cereals like wheat and rice.
Issues related to Livestock Feed and Fodder in India
- Shortage of livestock feed: as found in the Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute. This is important as feed constitutes 60%-70% of milk production costs.
- Lack of backward and forward linkages in the value chain: results in lack of availability of required feed and fodders for livestock in India.
- Availability of green fodder for a short period of time for about three months during the year results in a lack of sustainable quality fodder for livestock.
- Impacts the productivity levels of cattle: Lack of quantity and quality feedstock and fodder results in poor mil productivity.
- This is the major reason that India’s livestock’s milk productivity is 20%-60% lower than the global average.
- Good quality feed and fodder will help in improved milk productivity in the Nation, helping in doubling the farmer’s income as aspired by the government.
Fodder entrepreneurship program: A Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed
- It was recently accommodated within National Livestock Mission by modifying it.
- Hub and Spoke model: It intends to create a network of entrepreneurs who will make silage (the hub) and sell them directly to the farmers (the spoke).
- Expected outcome: Reduced input cost for farmers due to large-scale production of silage which is much cheaper than concentrate feed
- Beneficiaries of the scheme: Private entrepreneurs, self-help groups, farmer producer organizations, dairy cooperative societies, and Section 8 companies (NGOs) can avail themselves of the benefits under this scheme.
- Provision of subsidy: The scheme provides 50% capital subsidy up to ₹50 lakh towards project cost to the beneficiary for infrastructure development and for procuring machinery for value addition in feed such as hay/silage/total mixed ration.
- Objectives: To increase productivity, reduce input costs, and doing away with middlemen (who usually take a huge cut).
- Ensuring fodder throughout the year: Under the scheme, farmers will receive subsidies and incentives to create a consistent supply chain of feed throughout the year.
- Expected Outcomes:
- Affordable quality fodder: as Farmers would be able to grow the green fodder between two crop seasons and entrepreneurs can then convert it into silage and sell it at nearby markets at one-tenth of the price of concentrate/dry feed ensuring affordable quality fodder to dairy farmers.
- Increased farmer’s income: India has a livestock population of 535.78 million, an effective implementation of this scheme will play a major role in increasing the return on investment for our farmers.
- National Livestock Mission: It was launched by Union Government in 2014, focused on supporting farmers in producing fodder from non-forest wasteland/grassland and cultivating coarse grains. The mission was recently revised-
- To make the program focus primarily on assistance towards seed production and the development of feed and fodder entrepreneurs.
- Inserts provision of subsidy: The mission now provides for 50% direct capital subsidy to the beneficiaries under the feed and fodder entrepreneurship program and 100% subsidy on fodder seed production to identified beneficiaries.