From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : National Livestock Mission
Mains level : Paper 3- Addressing the lack of quality and affordable fodder and feed through Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed
The government recently announced a Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed.
Why availability of good and affordable quality feed and fodder matters
- A 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.
- Low milk productivity: The lack of good quality feed and fodder impacts the productivity levels of cattle.
- This is one of the chief reasons why Indian livestock’s milk productivity is 20%-60% lower than the global average.
- High input cost: If we break down the input costs, we find that feed constitutes 60%-70% of milk production costs.
- When the National Livestock Mission was launched in 2014, it focused on supporting farmers in producing fodder from non-forest wasteland/grassland, and cultivation of coarse grains.
- However, this model could not sustain fodder availability due to a lack of backward and forward linkages in the value chain.
Why Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed is significant
- As about 200 million Indians are involved in dairy and livestock farming, the scheme is important from the perspective of poverty alleviation.
- The Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed intends to create a network of entrepreneurs who will make silage (the hub) and sell them directly to the farmers (the spoke).
- Bringing down the input cost: The large-scale production of silage will bring down the input cost for farmers since silage is much cheaper than concentrate feed.
- Objective: The revised scheme has been designed with the objectives of increasing productivity, reducing input costs, and doing away with middlemen (who usually take a huge cut).
- Since India has a livestock population of 535.78 million, effective implementation of this scheme will play a major role in increasing the return on investment for our farmers.
About the Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed
- The scheme will provide 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.
- 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.
- The scheme can be used for covering the cost of infrastructure/machinery such as bailing units, harvester, chaff cutter, sheds, etc.
Challenges and solution
- Seasonal availability: A major challenge in the feed sector emanates from the fact that good-quality green fodder is only available for about three months during the year.
- Fermenting green fodder: Ideal solution would be to ferment green fodder and convert it into silage.
- Hence, under the fodder entrepreneurship program, farmers will receive subsidies and incentives to create a consistent supply chain of feed throughout the year.
The mission will help marginal farmers reduce their input costs and help them in increasing the return on capital employed.