Fodder scarcity hits Western Prakasam
The drought-hit Prakasam district is facing severe scarcity of fodder very early this year. The dairy farmers, who used to buy a tractor load of dry paddy straw grass at Rs 4,000-5,000 in midsummer, are forced to shell out Rs 15,000 now.
Ongole: The drought-hit Prakasam district is facing severe scarcity of fodder very early this year. The dairy farmers, who used to buy a tractor load of dry paddy straw grass at Rs 4,000-5,000 in midsummer, are forced to shell out Rs 15,000 now.
The mercury readings for last 10 days are about 35 degree Celsius in the district. The public is started to protest for drinking water in areas like Kanigiri, Giddalur, Markapuram and surrounding areas as the regular tankers are also finding hard to get a water source. The grass and other fodder available in the dried-up tanks, forests and grazing lands were already ended up due to continuous drought in the district for four years. The farmers are facing a hard time to provide drinking water and feed to the cattle.
Sk Moula Ali, who owns four buffaloes at Diguvametta said that he and his cousin are buying a tanker of water for Rs 800 to meet the needs of family and animals for four days. He said the hills are dried up and no grass was available for animals. He said that he didn't ask his son working in Hyderabad to send money for family, but asked on this Friday to feed the cattle.
The farmers used to receive seed for fodder crops on a subsidy price, but due to unfavorable conditions they are interested to waste their efforts. When the summer comes, it is a regular activity for the western area farmers to buy grass from merchants from Godavari, Guntur, Krishna, and Kurnool districts. They pay around Rs 4,000-5,000 per tractor load of dry paddy straw in April last week or in May every year.
But it is the middle of March now and the prices are rocketed up. Ch Venkataramana of Mundlapadu village said that the merchants are demanding Rs 12,000-15,000 now. He said that there were very fewer farmers able to cultivate fodder crops this year due to non-availability of water. He said that as districts like Kurnool and Guntur also didn't get enough water this year, there is a shortage of grass in the sourcing districts also. So, he justified that the prices are multifold this year.
The farmers said that due to shortage of fodder, the milk production is also reduced affecting the revenue. They are demanding the government to start planning the supply of grass and fodder on subsidy very early to save them from financial burden. On the other hand, the agriculture and animal husbandry officials are not available for comment on the action plan to save the cattle and supply of fodder as they are involved in election-related works and training.