Over 12, 000 farmers have registered in the depots

Farmers who owned milch animals in Salem have welcomed the government’s effort to face the anticipated severe dry fodder shortage in the district by opening five depots to supply dry fodder at subsidised rate. But, they feel that more depots have to be opened in the district that has a heavy cattle population.

Regional Joint Director of the Animal Husbandry Department (AHD), Salem, K.M. Sivaprakasam told The Hindu, on Saturday, that over 12,000 farmers have registered in the depots since registration began for availing dry fodder at a subsidy of 75 to 80 per cent about 10 days ago.

“Ration cards to avail the benefit have been distributed to more than 3,500 farmers in the depot at Thalaivasal. The rest were distributed to farmers who have registered in the depots at Nangavalli, Narasothipatti, Konganapuram and Mecheri. Registrations are yet to be closed,” he added.

Milch animals

In this connection AHD officials said that these farmers have an average of three milch animals, taking the total number of animals that would be availing the benefit close to 36,000.

According to those officials, this is much less than the population of milch animals in this district that was 6,38,164 – including 5,58,323 cows and 79,841 buffalos – when census of the animals was conducted about a year ago. “These animals are owned by about two lakh farmers”, they added.

Opening of depots

President of the United Farmers Association C. Vaiyapuri felt that the solution for taking the benefits of the scheme to more farmers would be to start at least one such depot in all the 20 panchayat unions in the district, without delay.

“More than one depot should be opened at Thalaivasal, Vazhapadi, Attur, Gangavalli and Omalur PUs that have a very high cattle population,” he said.

AHD officials said that they have received many representatives from farmers and will take them to the notice of the Government at the earliest.

“But the possibilities of getting more funds to open more depots seem to be remote, because the financial year is drawing to an end. More deports could be opened in the months of April or May – beginning of the next financial year. But this could also be hindered if the Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha elections come into effect”, the officials hinted.