The State Government is contemplating a massive fodder development programme through convergence of Rural Development and the Animal Husbandry departments to raise grass in all the villages and make Andhra Pradesh self-sufficient.

The task of raising green grass would be entrusted to farm labourers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), for which necessary funds reportedly of the order of Rs. 100 crore would be released shortly.

At a meeting attended by the Rural Development Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar and Animal Husbandry Minister K. Parthasarathy and senior officials of the two departments, it was decided to take up a pilot project in Anantapur, Chittoor, Mahabubnagar and one district in coastal Andhra region.

According to the action plan discussed at the meeting on Friday, the Animal Husbandry department would identify the bovine population in each village and the land required for raising grass. Preference would be given to Government and endowments lands and if that was not available, private land on lease would be considered.

Once the land, water source, animal population is finalised, the Rural Development would identify five families in each village. These families, who are already enrolled under the NREGS would be entrusted the task of raising grass through the fodder seed supplied by the Animal Husbandry department. Each individual would be able to earn Rs. 10,000 through the NREGS work.

A senior official told The Hindu that the idea was to make all villages self-sufficient in fodder. "We plan to identify at least 50 acres in each village where green grass would be raised. By involving the Animal Husbandry and Rural Development departments, the issue of overcoming fodder shortage and providing employment to the farm labourers would be fulfilled," the official remarked. The Animal Husbandry department has been asked to come out with a project report in a week.

Keywords: fodder