Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar raised concerns over the looming shortage of fodder for animals in the coming days and appealed to the policymakers, entrepreneurs and dairy leaders to resolve the issue.
Speaking at the International Dairy Federation (IDF)’s World Dairy Summit’s session on Feed, Food, and Waste, the minister underscored various challenges that agriculture is facing currently.
“The primary concern among them is how to ensure adequate availability of fodder in the coming times and what could be the mediums to resolve it. This requires a serious discussion,” said Tomar.
Giving an example of the Gir breed of cows from the Goras region, Tomar said during the peak summer and under water scarcity situations, the cattle herds have to take their cattle to far-flung areas as far as 200-300 miles away in search of fodder. “Due to this issue, the desired development of these people doesn’t happen,” he said.
Wasting valuable residue
On the stubble-burning issue, he termed it as a waste of valuable farm residue, which could be put to many alternate uses including improving the soil fertility.
“Normally, we consider it as waste. If we can’t use it adequately, we may face a challenge for the environment as well as for animal fodder. The issue of Parali (stubble burning) crops up every time. Everyone knows that stubble burning is like wasting a resource. The potential income from these farm residuals won’t be realized if it is burnt,” he said.
The stubble burning, he said, not just impacts the environment, but also damages the soil, and kills the friendly bacteria resulting in the deterioration of soil quality, which eventually impacts its fertility.
Addressing the gathering of farm scientists, international experts, and entrepreneurs, he said adequate disposal of farm residuals as well as the domestic residuals of vegetables or fruits and converting that into wealth “is a very topical issue to be addressed.”
Currently, an indigenously developed decomposer is being used in several places. Such technological interventions need to be encouraged, said Tomar.
The Agriculture Minister also appealed to the farmers to join the organic and natural farming mission and look for higher realizations.
“If more and more farmers take up natural farming, it will help the entire ecosystem. After Covid there has been a remarkable change in people’s approach toward healthy food. And they are buying foods that are chemical-free even if it is a bit costlier,” he said.
“In recent times, India has seen exports of agriculture products worth Rs 4 lakh crore. A large part of this is organic products,” he said.
Source: The Business Line