Fodder supply hit in drought-hit states

New Delhi: Drought-hit states like Karnataka,Gujarat and Maharashtra are facing acute shortage of fodder and have petitioned the Centre to urgently address the issue as it could affect dairy industry.

The chief ministers of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat – the worst drought-affected states – have also asked the Centre to bear at least 75 per cent cost of the agriculture loan they are waiving in the states to rescue farmers from severe crisis.

The state governments made these demands before a Central ministerial team led by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar when it visited the affected areas.

"In all three states, the biggest demand was for fodder, which was identified as the biggest problem. Discussion took place on fodder as it faces the biggest shortage…," an official, who was part of the delegation, told PTI.

Sources said the other demand the state governments raised was for loan waiver. "They are waiving loans, and (the states said) the Centre should bear 75 per cent cost of the loan waiver. This is was another key demand from the states," the official said.

The fodder crisis is likely to hit Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, the three other states affected by drought, as well. Both Pawar and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh will visit Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan next week to review the drought situation in these states.

According to an assessment by the Agriculture Ministry, the shortage of dry fodder, green fodder and concentrate is as high as 40 per cent in the country.

In India, fodder is cultivated in only about 4 per cent of the agricultural land and is not adequate to meet its requirement.