Punjab has agreed to supply paddy straw to Kerala for use as fodder for livestock as the dairy sector in the southern State faces an acute shortage of green fodder and hay.
The two States have agreed to transport paddy straw to Kerala using the Centre’s Kisan Rail scheme, Minister for Animal Husbandry J. Chinchurani said on Friday after meeting Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Animal Husbandry Minister Laljit Singh Bhullar.
The initiative is seen as a win-win situation for both States. While Kerala gets the much-needed fodder, it will help Punjab deal with excess paddy straw which contributes to stubble burning and air pollution.
The dairy sector in the Kerala – second only to Punjab in milk production – is a means of livelihood to lakhs of farmers. However, acute shortage of quality cattle feed and the relatively high prices are a major hurdle.
Though the ideal ratio of roughage and concentrated feed is 60:40, most dairy farmers tend to bank on compounded feed, mainly because of decline in the supply of fodder. This has affected the fat content of milk produced in the State.
According to the Economic Review 2021, domestic production of fodder meets only 46% of the demand in the State.“It is estimated that fodder cultivation would be required in at least 13,000 hectares if Kerala is to meet the roughage production target,” the Economic Review noted.
Source : The Hindu 12th Nov 2022