The Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the agriculture ministry met Sharad Pawar, agriculture minister, who directed the Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Departments to make modifications in various schemes to impart greater focus on fodder production. He has also directed the ICAR institutions to fast-track their research programmes relating to feed and fodder.
Pawar said this while informing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee about the decisions being taken to bridge the huge gap between the demand and availability of fodder in the country.
The minister informed that to achieve milk production of 160 million tonnes by 2020, 494 million tonnes of dry fodder, 825 million tonne green fodder and 54 million tonne concentrates will be required. However, the present shortage of feed and fodder in the country is as much as 40 per cent and fodder is being cultivated only on 4 per cent of the total cropping area, which is not adequate to meet the requirement of fodder.
Pawar called for alternative approaches to increase availability of fodder, more so looking at the current scenario of deficient rainfall in some states. He informed that the deficient rains, especially in Maharashtra and Karnataka, have resulted shortage of fodder in these states. In Maharashtra, he said, the standing sugarcane crop is being diverted for cattle feed.
Speaking on the areas requiring immediate interventions, Pawar said, "The first and foremost requirement is to enhance area under fodder, which is possible by developing common property resources, like the wastelands, degraded forest areas, etc. Improving productivity and coverage of coarse grains and dual purpose crops in rain-fed areas is the next priority, because it is not only linked to food security, it also enhances fodder and feed availability for the livestock. Since the present availability of seeds of high-yielding fodder varieties is severely limited, the next priority is to promote large scale production of high yielding fodder seeds with the help of seed growers and dairy farmers. We also need to do a lot on effective post-harvest management interventions so as to reduce the wastage of crop residues including its enrichment in quality."
Ministers of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Harish Rawat and Charan Das Mahant, were also present in the meeting.
The MPs who participated in the meeting were A Ganeshamurthi, Sharief-ud-din Sharif, Dhruva Narayana Rangaswamy, Kalyan Singh, M. Krishnaswamy, K P Dhanpalan, Kadir Rana, Janardhana Swamy, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Sardar Sher Singh Ghubaya, Ramesh Rathod, Kunvarjibhai Bavalia of Lok Sabha; and Khekiho Zhimomi, K P Ramalingam, T M Selvaganapathi, Darshan Singh Yadav, Mohsina Kidwai, and Renubala Pradhan of Rajya Sabha, and Raj Babbar (special invitee).