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Mittabagilu farmers pin hopes on dairying as floods cut farm income scope

AJ Vinayak Mittabagilu (Karnataka) | Updated on August 19, 2019 Published on August 19, 2019

Arecanut trees in Mittabagilu gram panchayat in Belthangady HS MANJUNATH   -  H_S_MANJUNATH

Even dairying faces multiple challenges

Dairying plays a crucial role in the economy of Mittabagilu gram panchayat in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka. The Mittabagilu Milk Cooperative Society was getting around 1,250 litres of milk from its members till a few days ago.

The flash floods in the panchayat on August 9, after the incessant rainfall in the Western Ghat ranges upstream of the village, have created a havoc now. The milk production has come down and the scope for farm income is also limited.

During a visit to the village on Wednesday, this correspondent could see earth moving equipment clearing the silt from the fields and arecanut and coconut plantations. Flood waters brought loads of tree logs along, mutilating the bridges, and water streams in the village have changed their course in some locations.

Villagers feel that the prospects of yields from plantations and paddy fields are bleak this year. Dairying is the only hope for the the economy of the village now.

Monappa Gowda, Chief Executive Officer of the Mittabagilu Milk Cooperative Society, told BusinessLine that dairying is a source of income for around 160 members of his society. The members of the society rear around 380 cows and 114 calves. The society’s average daily milk procurement was around 1,250 litres prior to the floods in the village. Now, the society is receiving around 600 litres a day.

He said cows and calves were taken to safe locations during the floods. However, the lack of proper cattle feed, green grass and fodder is coming in the way to keep this source of income intact for villagers. Fodder is to be brought from the upstream of Western Ghats and the recent floods and landslips are affecting the supply of fodder.

He said the society is making arrangements to supply 25 kg each of cattle feed to members with help from the Dakshina Kannada Milk Union. With all the water sources getting contaminated by the flood waters, there is not even proper drinking water source for animals. These conditions could pose challenges in the form of outbreak of cattle-related diseases in the days to come, he said.

If this is the condition of the farmers in Mittabagilu, 14 families affected by landslips at Parlamakki in the Western Ghat ranges have a different story to tell. These families are now rehabilitated to the house of Jalajakshi Gowda at Agarimaar near Mittabagilu.

Keshav Gowda from Parlamakki, who is staying in Agarimaar now, said these families have to trek around 5 km from the road to reach their houses in Parlamakki. The recent landslips in Parlamakki has put all their houses in danger.

These families rear around 100 cows. Every day, male members of these families trek to their houses to feed these cows. As these families are not in a position to bring these cows to the nearby safer locations, cows are being taken care of at Parlamakki now, he added.

Published on August 19, 2019
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