Price rise has put fodder beyond the reach of small farmers

Acute fodder scarcity has been causing hardship to the livestock owners in the district, despite efforts by the Animal Husbandry Department to bridge the gap in the demand and supply for it.

Failure of monsoon for two years had resulted in the absence of bio fodder such as the waste products of maize, ragi, and groundnut. Farmers complain that drought-like condition in the district had an adverse impact on the availability of fodder. With mechanisation in farming and application of harvesters in particular, quality hay was not available.

G.S. Dhanapathy, district chairman of the Farmers Forum of India who runs a goshala, says the spiralling rise in the prices of groundnut cake and brawn, farmers could not afford to buy the fodder.

The extinct of the meichal porambokke lands in the villages meant for grazing by livestock has added to the woes of livestock owners, he points out. He says the State government should take steps for restoration of these poramboke land which supplemented the ecological balance in rural areas.

The Animal Husbandry Department had made arrangements for supply of hay to the livestock at nine centres, including Pudukottai, Karambakudi, Aranthangi, Alangudi, Keeranur, Ponnamaravathy, Tirumayam, and Viralimalai. “We have been supplying hay by purchasing it from Thanjavur and so far we have sold 110 tonnes of hay through these centres,” says an official source.

“The municipality’s efforts by marketing the grass at five centres in the town has come as a boon to the livestock owners. The municipality, for 40 years, has been growing grass on its 20 acres of land in a place called Pulpannai and has been marketing about 2,000 bundles daily. There is no ceiling for consumers and each bundle of grass weighing 3 kg is sold for Rs. 6,” says a municipal source.

The municipality has been marketing the grass at Anna statue area, Machuvadi, Pulpannai, Old bus stand, and Uzhavar Santhai. This is the only municipality which cultivates and sells grass through 18 workers.

There has been overwhelming response to the sales to such an extent that farmers from other parts of the district have been making a beeline to these grass markets. “We are prepared to meet the demand of farmers to a great extent,” says the source.