Farmers in Prakasam district, where all mandals have been declared drought-hit, are in trouble as the price of fodder has gone up due to demand-supply gap. There has been a 50 per cent increase in the price of fodder in the district, as farmers have not take up paddy cultivation in about 1.50 lakh acres during late kharif and rabi, explains Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham district secretary N. Ranga Rao while talking to The Hindu .
“A tractor load of paddy straw was available for Rs. 4,000 last year. But now, farmers have to pay Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 7,000,” he said, adding that farmers taking recourse to mechanised harvesters in view of labour shortage had rendered paddy straw unfit for cattle consumption.
The administration has evolved a Rs. 84-lakh action plan to augment fodder availability in coordination with the District Water Management Agency, according to Animal Husbandry Joint Director N. Rajinikumari.
“We have already distributed 165 million tonnes of fodder seed under the centrally-sponsored Accelerated Fodder Development Programme,” she explained. Stating that fodder shortage was of the order of 16,548 tonnes in the district, she said, under the MGNREGS, 477 works had been taken up to grow fodder in order to improve fodder availability.
The department, in coordination with the Rural Water Supply Department, was sinking 803 borewells and constructing 702 watersheds for cattle.
The model code of conduct for political parties in view of the by-elections would not come in the way of their implementation as all of them were ongoing schemes, she said. While availability of fodder was of the order of 4.77 lakh tonnes, the demand was to the tune of 4.93 lakh tonnes, she added.
Though the department is supplying fodder seed, farmers are finding it difficult to sustain them as open wells and borewells have dried up, according to BJP district secretary Mastan Babu.
“The farmers in western parts have to shell down Rs.10,000 to get a tractor load of fodder from Darsi, Vinukonda, and other paddy- growing areas. Those who domesticate one or two milch cattle pay Rs. 60 for a day's feed in the Markapur division,” he added.
“Though the shortage is severe, there has been no major agitations by farmers as those who could not maintain their cattle are silently sending them to slaughter houses in neighbouring states,” said CPI (M) Markapur division secretary G. Venkatram Reddy.
Price rise attributed to farmers not taking up paddy cultivation during late kharif and rabi
Mechanised harvesters used in view of labour shortage render paddy straw unfit for cattle