The drought has not been dry as far as income is concerned for farmers of 193 villages in Osmanabad district, where there is a severe water scarcity. The decision to shift their animals to fodder camps has yielded results.
Overall milk production increased by 30,000 litres per day — from 1.5 lakh litres to 1.8 lakh litres — here and income per day by Rs 6 lakh. The healthcare and nutritious diet for animals at fodder camps subsidised by government has proved a big help.
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Osmanabad district with 737 villages is amongst the worst-hit by the drought, where average rainfall is less than 730 mm in the best of monsoon.
At present there are 193 villages where all water sources have dried up and the district administration has marked them in red category. In 325 villages under yellow category there is moderate water supply. In 119 villages, there is steady water supply and are marked green.
According to Osmanabad district collector Prashant Narnavre, “In the midst of the drought we were pleasantly surprised to see the enhanced milk production in fodder camps. Several precautions taken initially have also helped us avoid the foot-and-mouth disease, common during drought.”
There are 85,000 animals in 83 fodder camps across the district. The average milk production before they were shifted to fodder camps was 1.5 lakh litres. Milk production for February-end was 1.8 lakh litres. The average price farmers get per litre is Rs 20. However, in the market, the price goes upto Rs 45 per litre.
The additional 30,000 litres of milk per day works out to Rs 6 lakh per day. The total amount for one month (30 days) works out to Rs 180 lakh. The government has provided Rs 50 per animal for fodder. It has made it mandatory to provide nutrients which cost Rs 7 per animal.
The ministry of agriculture, relief and rehabilitation has provided guidelines to all fodder camps. If anybody is seen violating them, a very heavy penalty is slapped thus putting a check on corrupt practices, mainly inflating of costs and providing substandard fodder.
It has made it mandatory for medical officials to regularly visit and file reports daily. Also, rules for sanitation and shelter have been strictly enforced.
The fodder provided through hydroponic and azolae method has added nutrition value and ensured good health for the animals, revealed the collector.
The guidelines have strictly barred overcrowding of animals. The camps have spread the animals from 500 to 3,000 in each depending on size and logistics complete with water and fodder. Every animal has to be provided 15 kg of fodder including half a kg of nutrients as stipulated by the health officer. The water requirement per animal is 30 litres.