Boost to livestock sector: State takes up 14 hydroponic fodder cultivation projects

Boost to livestock sector: State takes up 14 hydroponic fodder cultivation projects

Kolkata: The state Panchayats and Rural Development (P&RD) department has laid special emphasis on hydroponic fodder cultivation to provide a boost to livestock activities across the state.

West Bengal Area Comprehensive Area Development Corporation (WBCADC)—an autonomous organisation under the P&RD department—has already taken up 14 projects across the state by involving over 300 Self Help Groups(SHGs), who have been trained in this type of cultivation, in which plants are grown without soil.

"Goat is like an ATM to the rural people. It not only provides milk but is often given as dowry during a girl's wedding. However, lack of pasture land is posing a problem of grazing for the goat. The hydroponic fodder is highly nutritious and acts as a balanced food for the goat," a senior official of WBCADC said.

Several people in the rural areas earn livelihood through goatery. But, they have no pasture land of their own. The goat often goes to graze on other people's land.

The owner often has to face the kangaroo court if the cattle trespass into someone else's land.

Hydroponic fodder can be produced by growing seeds without soil and with very little water. Within seven days, the seeds are sprouted. Compared to conventional fodder production, it requires much less water and hence can be produced regularly throughout the year. It can be grown easily on a perforated or plain tray by using maize, jowar, bajra seeds, gram seeds, oat seeds, barseem grass seed etc. The SHG groups are also doing the same on paper plates.

While the market price of green fodder is Rs 18 per 500 gm, hydroponic fodder is priced at only Rs 4 per 500 gm. Considering the fact that an adult goat requires 4 kg food daily, hydroponic fodder is highly economical.

Presently, projects are being executed at Saharjor and Ayodha Hills in Purulia, Krishi Bigyan Kendra in Bankura, Sonamukhi in Bankura, Gaighata and Deganga in North 24 Parganas, Debra in West Midnapore, Tamluk in East Midnapore, Berhampore in Murshidabad, Ratua in Malda, Siliguri, Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur, Haringhata and Ranaghat in Nadia .

CADC has plans to expand the project in other parts of the state too and has set a target to involve 650 SHGs in the current fiscal.

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