Water Crises affecting Livestock production in India

Green fodder shortage in Karnataka
As the temperature has been rising, rural households dependent on dairy farming for livelihood are increasingly seeing their income coming down, with yield and quality of milk on the decline. Shortage of green fodder and water has affected dairy farmers in the State, especially in the districts of Kolar, Chickballapur and Mandya.
While the milk production has come down, the heat has affected the quality of milk. Collection centres are receiving milk that do not conform to the solids-not-fat (SNF) standards, which in turn has been affecting the income of farmers.
“Small farmers have been badly affected by the soaring temperature. Those who were unable to feed green fodder can get only half the quantity of milk they used to get under normal conditions,” said P.R. Suryanarayan, district unit president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.
Fodder depots for cattle in Gujarat
A cabinet sub-committee of Gujarat government dealing with water scarcity in the state decided to allow social organisations to open cattle camps in water-scarcity affected areas. The social organisations, in turn, will be given subsidy of Rs 25 per animal.
At the same time, as per committee orders, total 66 fodder depots have also been opened in Kutch district which will provide fodder to cattle at subsidised rates.
Gujarat government has already announced 994 villages of five districts as partially scarcity-affected districts.
Enough fodder in drought-hit Telangana
In spite of a drought-like situation existing due to lower rainfall in 231 mandals in Telangana last year, the Animal Husbandry Department has ensured that there is no shortage of fodder for livestock till the coming monsoon. This was possible as officials distributed 2080 metric tonnes of fodder seeds to farmers, which led to a produce of about 1,30,000 acres of fodder for their animals.
“Generally livestock in Telangana feed on pastures and on fodder residue. But with lower rainfall last year, there would obviously be a reduction in crop area. Hence, keeping that in mind, we distributed subsidised fodder seeds, which was almost, double than what we do every year,” said Y. Thirupataiah, Director, Department of Animal Husbandry.
Mr. Thirupataiah said that the 1,30,000 acres of fodder feed produced by farmers between 2015- 16 so far was about 20 per cent higher than what is usually produced, given the existing situation.
The department also assesses the situation in the drought mandals every six months. For the period from January to June this year, it was estimated that 50.79 lakh metric tonnes of fodder would be required for the livestock. “But 45.21 lakh metric tonnes was available, and there was a shortfall of 5.58 lakh metric tonnes,” noted Mr. Thirupataiah.
“We have also started supplying cattle-feed with a 50 per cent subsidy to farmers for milch livestock in the drought-hit mandals. The Government is supplying 50 metric tonnes for each mandal,” he stated.
Bio-diverse crops is the way forward
While scores of farmers had to endure drought and the Telangana Government seems determined to take up major irrigation projects across the State to provide water to agriculture, a small farmer from Medak is claiming to have made a hanIndigenous methods
Mr. P.V. Sateesh, Director, Deccan Development Society (DDS) said, “We had high hopes from the Government when it announced the agriculture policy. We are alarmed as the latest initiatives are not going to help the peasants. Telangana has traditionally been a land of diverse farm practices and turning it into mono-cropping cultivation is not right.” The voluntary organisation working towards preservation of indigenous farming methods.
He advised the Government to promote natural farming with crop diversity like Millets – Jowar, Bajra, Foxtail, etc., which ensures food and fodder while being environment friendly in these days of climate change.
Source : The Hindu, Economic Times and The Indian Express