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Editorials/Opinions Analyses For UPSC 18 August 2021


  1. More feed, better productivity: Feed and fodder for livestock

More feed, better productivity: Feed and fodder for livestock


The COVID-19 Pandemic situation has highlighted how the lack of affordable good quality feed and fodder for livestock is a major stumbling block faced by Indian farmers.


GS-III: Agriculture (Agricultural Resources, Growth & Development, Economics of Animal-Rearing)

Mains Questions:

Highlighting the significance of livestock in our Economy, discuss the role of the Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed under National Livestock Mission on enhancing livestock productivity and farmers’ income. (10 marks)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Role of Livestock in Indian Economy
  2. Challenges regarding good quality feed
  3. National Livestock Mission (NLM)
  4. Sub-Mission on fodder and feed

Role of Livestock in Indian Economy

  • Livestock plays an important role in Indian economy as more than 20 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood. Livestock provides livelihood to two-third of rural community.
  • It also provides employment to about 8.8 % of the population in India.
  • Livestock contributed 16% to the income of small farm households as against an average of 14% for all rural households.
  • Livestock sector contributes to more than 4% of our GDP and more than 25% of total Agriculture GDP.

Data Based on the 20th Livestock Census:

  • India is World’s highest livestock owner at more than 530 million.
  • India ranks First in the total buffalo population in the world at more than 100 million buffaloes.
  • India also ranks Second in the population of goats and houses the Second largest poultry market in the world.
  • India is the Second largest producer of fish and also second largest aquaculture nation in the world.

Challenges regarding good quality feed

  • The lack of good quality feed and fodder impacts the productivity levels of cattle. This is one of the chief reasons why Indian livestock’s milk productivity is 20%-60% lower than the global average.
  • If we break down the input costs, we find that feed constitutes 60%-70% of milk production costs. Hence, this high input cost contributes as a major challenge for our milk production.
  • When the National Livestock Mission was launched in 2014, it focused on supporting farmers in producing fodder from non-forest wasteland/grassland, and cultivation of coarse grains. However, this model could not sustain fodder availability due to lack of backward and forward linkages in the value chain.
  • It should be noted that the National Livestock Mission has been revised to make the programme focus primarily on assistance towards seed production and the development of feed and fodder entrepreneurs.
  • A study by the Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute has observed that for every 100 kg of feed required, India is short of almost 25 kg of dry fodder, 10+ kg of green fodder, and almost 30 kg of concentrate feed.

Availability of green fodder

  • A major challenge in the feed sector emanates from the fact that good quality green fodder is only available for about three months during the year.
  • The ideal solution to deal with the scarcity is to ferment green fodder and convert it into silage.
  • Hence, under the fodder entrepreneurship programme, farmers will receive subsidies and incentives to create a consistent supply chain of feed throughout the year.
  • The idea is that farmers should be able to grow the green fodder between two crop seasons and entrepreneurs can then convert it into silage and sell it at nearby markets at one-tenth of the price of concentrate/dry feed ensuring affordable quality fodder to dairy farmers.

National Livestock Mission (NLM)

  • The National Livestock Mission (NLM) was launched in the 2014-15 financial year and seeks to ensure quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems and capacity building of all stakeholders.
  • The scheme is being implemented as a sub scheme of White Revolution – Rashtriya Pashudhan Vikas Yojana from April 2019.
  • The mission is organised into the following four Sub – Missions:
    1. Sub-Mission on Livestock Development.
    2. Sub-Mission on Pig Development in North-Eastern Region.
    3. Sub-Mission on Feed and Fodder Development.
    4. Sub-Mission on Skill Development, Technology Transfer and Extension.

Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed: Revised National Livestock Mission

  • Since its revision, the National Livestock Mission now provides for 50% direct capital subsidy to the beneficiaries under the feed and fodder entrepreneurship programme and 100% subsidy on fodder seed production to identified beneficiaries.
  • Private entrepreneurs, self-help groups, farmer producer organisations, dairy cooperative societies, and Section 8 companies (NGOs) can avail themselves of the benefits under this scheme.
  • The scheme can be used for covering the cost of infrastructure/machinery such as bailing units, harvester, chaff cutter, sheds, etc.

Benefits of the Sub-Mission on Fodder

  • As about 200 million Indians are involved in dairy and livestock farming, the scheme is important from the perspective of poverty alleviation.
  • The Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed intends to create a network of entrepreneurs who will make silage (the hub) and sell them directly to the farmers (the spoke).
  • The large-scale production of silage will bring down the input cost for farmers since silage is much cheaper than concentrate feed.
  • The revised scheme has been designed with the objectives of increasing productivity, reducing input costs, and doing away with middlemen (who usually take a huge cut).
  • Since India has a livestock population of 535.78 million, an effective implementation of this scheme will play a major role in increasing the return on investment for our farmers.
  • Studies have indicated that by growing fodder crops one can earn ₹1.60 by investing ₹1 as compared to ₹1.20 in the case of common cereals like wheat and rice.

-Source: The Hindu

November 2023