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‘Fodder shelter’ for protection of fodder

‘Fodder shelter’ for protection of fodder

We get to hear news every day that ‘1 crore farmers are facing problems due to loss of crop on 14 Lakh hectare’, or ‘farmers are at a loss because ‘Panchnama (assessment)’ was not done in time’.  We see the farmers crying their heart out in the breaking news.


On one hand, there is a demand to declare districts that are affected by drought; on the other hand, thousands of crores of rupees is being proclaimed as help.  This is happening due to the wet drought in the state.  After one or two years there will be dry drought.  Then again the same news, same photographs, same demands and same promises.  Only the word wet will be replaced by dry.  Drought will be the same.  The drought cycle repeats like the seasonal cycle.  


The most discussed subject in drought is ‘fodder shelter’.  The number of farmers having livestock like cows, buffalos, bulls and goats is massive.  Since there is no crop in drought, there is no fodder too and the livestock cannot be fed.  The farmer cannot afford to buy fodder from the market and feed the cattle.  It is challenging for the farmer to see the animals starving.  This creates the demand for ‘fodder shelters’ in villages.  There are fodder shelters in many places. However, it does not solve the problems.  Because if they are not created in time, the cattle go without fodder.  Farmers are not in the mood to eat when the cattle are starving.  Even if it is late, then cattle are taken to the fodder shelter. 


The shelter, however, does not have enough fodder, and there is a possibility of cattle starving there too.  The farmer is requesting the Government to get fodder, sometimes he gets and sometimes he doesn’t.  The farmer is always helpless in drought situations.  Maharashtra will be free from drought someday, but before that, the farmer has to become free from this state of helplessness.


Sampatrao Pawar from Sangli realized this need and took firm steps to solve the problem.  This name is not new to the rural and farmer community.  He has been working in farming, water, cattle, environment and village development for more than 50 years.  The farmer’s dam created by people through their hard work and financial contribution is famous.  Also, ‘Smrutivan’ to commemorate the freedom fighters is also well known.  He has also done many experiments to fight drought in Maharashtra.           


Sampatrao has experimented till now keeping in mind the dry land farmer.  He has seen the plight of monsoon dependent farmers since his childhood.   


He has seen many years of drought.  He has seen that people do get food in drought, but cattle do not get fodder in drought.  There is a shortage of fodder at least four months in a year.  To solve this problem sugarcane is used as fodder.  Farmers are aware that it is not good for the health of cattle, but the farmers cannot think of any other solution.  They are caught in a typical situation of not getting fodder and also having to give sugarcane to cattle.             


Sampatrao, his son Advocate Sandesh Pawar and other colleagues want to solve this fodder problem.  They want to give a permanent solution to this problem.  They have planned a project for this.  The idea is: the farmers should take fodder in regions where there is water, and the Government will buy it from them at Rs. 2000 per ton.  The Government will store the fodder and in the time of need sell to the farmer at Rs. 2 per Kilogram.  In this way, the fodder growing farmer will get Rs. 1500 and the balance Rs. Five hundred will be borne by  the Government.  The project also proposed the concept of ‘fodder card’.  The Government will distribute this fodder card just like the ration card.


Sampatrao believes that this project has many benefits.  The fodder growing farmers will earn a profit of Rs. 15000 per acre.  Otherwise, if they take a crop of Bajra or a similar one, they hardly make Rs. 5000 per acre.  Since the Government is directly going to buy the fodder, the farmer won’t have to depend on the fluctuating market prices.  The farmers having cattle will not have to wait for fodder shelter helplessly.  Their cattle will eat fodder at their homes.  The Government will not have to spend time and energy on fodder shelters.         


Sampatrao and his son Sandesh are both action-oriented progressive people.  They not only created the project but donated 2 acres of land of their own for this project.  They tried to involve society in this project.  They encouraged Vivek Vahini Sanstha of Islampur and Vivekananda Spardha Kendra of Julewadi to offer a voluntary contribution of labour to this project.  37 ton of fodder was produced with scientific sowing and care of crop techniques.  Distribution of ‘Fodder card’ and fodder was done in the presence of senior Government officers.  This duo created a model of how a project can be ideated and implemented successfully.  Sampatrao and team feels that the Government should implement this project in all states.  Many voluntary organizations and people doing charity contributed to the success of this project.      

Date Cost details Rs         Date             Cost details                                     Rs  

5/3/2019 Tillage 3000 27/3/2019 Preparing soil 3*150 Deepa Group 450 

5/3/2019 Labor Balasaheb Jadhav 1*300 300 27/3/2019 Preparing soil 2*150 Deepa Group 300

5/3/2019  Labor Bhimrao Hanbhar 1*300 300 29/3/2019   Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav  300

6/3/2019  Tillage   3000 30/3/2019   Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav 300

6/3/2019  Picking 14*150  2100 1/4/2019   Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav 300

8/3/2019  Picking 7*150   1050 2/4/2019   Giving water labour Mali Mama  200

8/3/2019  Labor Balasaheb Jadhav 1*300 300 3/4/2019   Giving water labour Mali Mama 200

8/3/2019 Labor Balasaheb Jadhav 1*300 300 4/4/2019 Sunflower cucumber seeds 100

9/3/2019  Sowing labour 6*300  1800 15/4/2019   Preparing soil 34*150 Deepa Group 600

9/3/2019 Seed transport cost 1000 16/4/2019 Preparing soil 3*150 Deepa Group 450

9/3/2019  Shabbir Mulani driver salary 300 16/4/2019   Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav 300

9/3/2019  Hivtad seed   1500 17/4/2019   Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav 300

10/3/2019  Vivek Vardhini voluntary labour 1000 17/4/2019   14/4 Vo 17/4 Preparing soil 56*1  8400

10/3/2019  Urea 2 bags fertilizer sowing 560 20/4/2019   Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav 300

10/3/2019  Sowing tractor rent   3000 21/4/2019   Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav 300

11/3/2019  Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav  300 22/4/2019   Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav 300

12/3/2019  Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav  300 23/4/2019   Giving water labour Balasaheb Jadhav 300

11/3/2019  Giving water labour Mali Mama  200 28/4/2019   11/4 Vo 28/4 Mama labour 1400

13/3/2019  Giving water labour Mali Mama 200 7/5/2019   Giving water labour Ananda Lokhande  200

14/3/2019  Giving water labour Mali Mama  200 10/5/2019   Giving water labour Ananda Lokhande      200

15/3/2019  Giving water labour Mali Mama  200 11/5/2019   Giving water labour Ananda Lokhande      200

16/3/2019  Giving water labour Mali Mama  200 12/5/2019   Giving water labour Ananda Lokhande      200

17/3/2019  Giving water labour Mali Mama  200 13/5/2019   Giving water labour Mali Mama 200

20/3/2019  Giving water labour Mali Mama  200 14/5/2019   Giving water labour Ananda Lokhande        200

21/3/2019  Giving water labour Mali Mama  200 16/5/2019   Giving water labour Ananda Lokhande       200

22/3/2019  Giving water labour Mali Mama  200 

Total fodder production cost 38110

Table – 2  

Project findings

  1. Provided fodder to 3700 animals
  2. Total fodder production cost – Rs. 38000 
  3. Total fodder production – 37 ton
  4. The farmers earned Rs. 15000 per acre from fodder production
  5. Cost increased due to irregular electricity supply
  6. Encouraged farmers to use fewer fertilizers and help the environment
  7. Production possible in minimum water
  8. Production reduced due to heavy rains
  9. Farmers for good response to Fodder protection card through five distribution centres
  10. The novel fodder distribution system was successful
  11. In every district ‘Nedva’ sugarcane has to be cultivated from 4 to 5 acres of land.  The crop has to be changed.  In such areas, crops like ‘Kadval’ or ‘corn’ can be taken.  In summer green fodder can be available.


Table 3

“There is no need to ask the Government for help in fodder production.  The Government should give assurance of buying the fodder produced by farmers at Rs. 1500 per ton.  If this fodder is stored and 10 Kilogram is provided on the Fodder protection card to the cattle in dry land at Rs. 2 per Kilogram, then the Government will earn Rs. 500 per ton as an administrative cost.  Cattle will get fodder at home.  The nutrition cost can be brought down to Rs. 20 per animal.  If this is planned professionally, the financial cycle of growth can become self-sufficient.

So, in addition to helping cattle in dryland survive in drought, it is also essential to convert the outdated fodder camps to fodder shelters to conserve the cattle.    

-Bhai Sampatrao Pawar

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