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Insights into Editorial: More feed, better productivity

 

 

Context:

The significance of Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed recently announced by the Indian government is underscored by the fact that livestock is the major source of cash income for about 13 crore marginal farmers and is an insurance in the event of crop failure.

The lack of good quality feed and fodder impacts the productivity levels of cattle.

As about 200 million Indians are involved in dairy and livestock farming, the scheme is important from the perspective of poverty alleviation.

National Livestock Mission (NLM) proposes to bring sharp focus on entrepreneurship development and breed improvement in rural poultry, sheep, goat and piggery including feed and fodder development.

 

Livestock sector in India:

  1. India is the highest livestock owner of the world. As per the 20th Livestock Census, the total Livestock population is 535.78 million in the country showing an increase of 4.6% over Livestock Census-2012.
  2. Livestock is the major source of cash income for about 13 crore marginal farmers and is insurance in the event of crop failure.
  3. A large number of farmers depend upon animal husbandry for their livelihood. It supports the livelihood of almost 55% of the rural population.
  4. Improving livestock productivity and management would help alleviate poverty as about 200 million Indians are involved in dairy and livestock farming.

 

About National Livestock Mission:

National Livestock Mission (NLM) launched in financial year 2014-15 seeks to ensure quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems and capacity building of all stakeholders.

The scheme is being implemented as a sub scheme of White Revolution – Rashtriya Pashudhan Vikas Yojana since April 2019. The mission encompasses all the Indian states.

There are four sub-missions under National Livestock Mission:

  1. Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed Development
  2. Sub-Mission on Livestock Development
  3. Sub-Mission on Pig Development in North-Eastern Region
  4. Sub-Mission on Skill Development, Technology Transfer and Extension

 

Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed: Revised National Livestock Mission:

  1. The scheme can be used for covering the cost of infrastructure/machinery such as bailing units, harvester, chaff cutter, sheds, etc.
  2. Private entrepreneurs, self-help groups, farmer producer organisations, dairy cooperative societies, and Section 8 companies (NGOs) can avail themselves of the benefits under this scheme.
  3. Since its revision, the National Livestock Mission now provides for 50% direct capital subsidy to the beneficiaries under the feed and fodder entrepreneurship programme and 100% subsidy on fodder seed production to identified beneficiaries.

 

Availability of green fodder:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. This is one of the chief reasons why Indian livestock’s milk productivity is 20%-60% lower than the global average.
  4. If we break down the input costs, we find that feed constitutes 60%-70% of milk production costs.
  5. The ideal solution in the feed sector would be to ferment green fodder and convert it into silage.
  6. Hence, under the fodder entrepreneurship programme, farmers will receive subsidies and incentives to create a consistent supply chain of feed throughout the year.
  7. The idea is that farmers should 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.
  8. A major stumbling block faced by Indian farmers pertains to the lack of affordable good quality feed and fodder for livestock.

 

Recent initiative by government: Special Livestock Sector Package:

  1. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved implementation of a special livestock sector package.
  2. The aim of the package is to boost growth in the livestock sector and thereby making animal husbandry more remunerative to 10 crore farmers engaged in Animal Husbandry Sector.
  3. The package has been designed by revising and realigning various components of the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying’ Schemes for the next five years, starting 2021-22.

 

Revised scheme:

  1. 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.
  2. However, this model could not sustain fodder availability due to lack of backward and forward linkages in the value chain.
  3. Therefore, the Mission has been revised to make the programme focus primarily on assistance towards seed production and the development of feed and fodder entrepreneurs.
  4. It now provides for 50% direct capital subsidy to the beneficiaries under the feed and fodder entrepreneurship programme and 100% subsidy on fodder seed production to identified beneficiaries.
  5. The scheme can be used for covering the cost of infrastructure/machinery such as bailing units, harvester, chaff cutter, sheds, etc.
  6. 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).

 

Conclusion:

As per the Economic Survey-2021, the contribution of Livestock in total agriculture and allied sector Gross Value Added (at Constant Prices) has increased from 24.32% (2014-15) to 28.63% (2018-19).

In this context, it is heartening to see successful models of silage entrepreneurship by several start-ups across the country.

Since 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.