Maharashtra will provide subsidy to farmers adopting the “hydroponic” model to meet shortage of animal fodder in drought hit areas.
There is a shortage of 25,000 metric tonne fodder in Marathwada region and alternative models are being promoted. A structure made of bamboo for promoting “hydroponics” created by tribals of Gadchiroli in Vidarbha, will also get a boost with the government promoting it.
The finance ministry will set aside Rs 10 crore for subsidy to promote hydroponic fodder, and the state government will provide 50 per cent subsidy. The remaining 50 per cent will be borne by the farmers or individuals adopting the scheme.
The financial requirement will be worked out after getting the response across state, Khadse revealed.
The agriculture minister said, “The hydroponic model widely adopted in countries like Netherlands, Australia and United States may prove beneficial to tide over the crisis.”
He revealed that Maharashtra has its modified locally made apparatus to germinate seeds. Tribals in Gadchiroli are trained to make the shelf with bamboo trays.
The trays hold water which percolates from top to bottom soaking the cereals which turns into sprout and saplings within 8 to 10 days.
Cereals such as maize, wheat, jowar or bajra are kept in the tray and flow of water is controlled, at a suitable temperature. In eight days, sprouts spring to life and grow taller. It can be a nutritious animal fodder.
They can sow other seeds as well. Citing an example, the minister said, “In rural Maharashtra, during monsoons, we have seen households growing wheat that turns from seed to a sapling of upto 10 cms. Although such customs are equated to religious or festivals, they can be adopted as good animal fodder.”