In response to the fodder deficit, two years after the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying proposed the formation and promotion of fodder-centric Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), the government has designated the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) as the implementing agency, setting a target of 100 such FPOs by the year 2022-23.
According to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare order issued on November 4, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has designated NDDB as the implementing agency under the scheme for establishing and promoting 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) based on fodder and animal husbandry activities as a secondary activity (fodder plus model)… NDDB has been assigned to form 100 FPOs during 2022-23 within the contours of the scheme guidelines.”
In August 2022, The Deccan Era reported that wholesale price index-based fodder inflation reached a nine-year high of 25.5%, highlighting the hardships rural families are experiencing due to livestock dependency. Additionally, the reports, published in two parts on October 3 and 4, highlighted how the government’s ambitious plan to establish 10,000 FPOs remained on paper.
Rajesh Kumar Singh, the Animal Husbandry Secretary, convened a meeting on October 6 to assess the fodder situation in the country, at which the states reported that dry fodder prices had increased significantly over last year. In addition to officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, representatives from at least 14 states attended the meeting – Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.
As part of its attempts to address the fodder deficit situation in the country, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairy were the first to propose the establishment of fodder-centric FPOs in 2020.
As a result of the high fodder inflation, rural livelihoods are directly affected. It is reported that 48.5% of rural households (or an estimated 8.37 crore) said owning cattle ‘in milk’, young cattle, and cattle under the ‘others’ category during July-December 2018, according to the National Statistical Office report, ‘Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land and Livestock Holdings of Households in Rural India, 2019’. Additionally, 43.8% of the total 9.3 crore farming households used green fodder, 52.4% dry fodder, 30.4% concentrates, and 12.5% other animal feeds.