Agri Business

Fodder from reserve forest to the rescue of cattle in Kutch

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 18, 2016

Buffaloes take shelter from the scorching heat in Vekariya Rann, part of Great Rann of Kutch, in this May 15, 2016, photo. Credit: Samir Bhat

Joint forest management has come to the rescue in the scarcity-hit districts of Gujarat by providing fodder for the cattle. The forest areas of south Gujarat region, including districts of Bharuch, Valsad, Navsari, Surat and Tapi are supplying fodder to Kutch and other affected districts of Saurashtra.

Commenting on the comfortable fodder situation in the state, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests - Monitoring, Anoop Shukla, told BusinessLine, “The fodder availability is sufficient in the state. We currently have 4 crore kg of fodder, which is being supplied as per the directions from the revenue department.”

However, the fodder situation in Kutch remains most alarming as it is a desert area. The district was supplied over 90,000 kg of fodder from Bharuch in March. “We get this fodder from the reserve forest areas through the joint forest management committee. We have been given standing instructions to supply fodder to Kutch district every year. Each year we supply close to 1 lakh kg of fodder to Kutch district,” said H S Patel, sub-DFO, Bharuch.

The Chief Minister, Anandiben Patel, on Monday appraised Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the scarcity situation in the state, where over 22 lakh people in six districts have been affected.

After two-years of scanty rains, parts of Saurashtra face severe shortage of water and fodder.

Worst affected

Milch animals are the worst affected by the scarcity. Each big animal – cow or buffalo –requires about 5 kg of fodder a day. The shortage of fodder has pushed up the price to Rs 250/20 kg from Rs 100-120 earlier. To address the situation, the government has started distributing fodder at Rs 2 per kg in scarcity-affected districts through 120 grass-distribution centres.

“There are fodder depots at taluka and village level. We get regular fodder supplies from Valsad. The current stock is sufficient to meet the requirement,” said an official from the Scarcity branch under Rajkot District Collector. Gujarat has a bovine population of over 2 crore.

Migration woes

In peak summer, migration in search of water and fodder is common for Kutch. But the government claims to have avoided migration of the Maldhari community by providing adequate fodder to the district.

In December 2015, there were reports about migration of cattle-breeders towards Central and South Gujarat, where the situation was relatively much better.

Published on May 18, 2016
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