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Farmers, dairy owners wary of steep hike in fodder prices

After the lumpy skin disease (LSD) outbreak among cattle last year and the widespread damage to wheat crop by rains this year, concerns over ‘toori’ (dry wheat husk/stem) shortage has now set the alarm bells ringing among farmers.

Farmers and dairy owners have warned of a steep rise in the prices of ‘toori’ (cattle fodder) in the coming days, which might hike prices of milk and related products. They say the fodder prices would also impact poor and marginal farmers across villages, who are dependent on cattle for sustenance.

Marginal farmers as well as labourers comprise a sizeable portion of the rural population across villages in Doaba and other regions of the state.

Dheeraj Bajaj, general secretary, Govind Gau Dhaam Gaushala, Kapurthala, which has over 1,000 heads of cattle said, “The twin crisis created by the LSD last year and the expected shortage of fodder this year has made dairy business unsustainable for many. The cost of feeding cattle with current fodder price rates is pushing marginal farmers to give up dairy farming.”

He said, “Our gaushala had a budget of Rs 21 lakh for fodder last year. This year, it has already shot up to Rs 31 lakh. Fodder prices per trolley are expected to shoot up to Rs 10,000. Normally, these are Rs 5,000 to 6,000. Earlier, fodder prices were between Rs 400 and 500 per quintal in Kapurthala, which have touched Rs 700.”

Harminder Singh, a farmer from Bhawanipur village in Kapurthala, who also supplies ‘toori’ to gaushalas, said, “Punjab was known as the land of milk and butter its quality. But the crop damage could make dairy business unsustainable for small farmers and labourers.”

Jaswant Singh, Chief Agricultural Officer, Jalandhar, said, “A few days ago, the agriculture minister had said at a meeting that fodder from the state will not be routed to cardboard making factories and industrial units. There is clearly a damage to the wheat crop, which will affect fodder supply too. All steps are being taken to provide relief to farmers.”

Dry fodder rates at 10-year high in Moga

Moga: The price of dry fodder made from wheat straw in Moga and other parts of the Malwa belt has shot up to a 10-year high at Rs 900 to Rs 1,200 per quintal

Balwinder Singh, a landless dairy farmer, said he was totally dependent on dry and green fodder purchased from the market

He said, “The rising cost of dry and green fodder has increased the cost of milk production. Therefore, it’s no longer a profitable business.

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