Millets and sorghum play a crucial role in interlinking agriculture, dairy and fisheries sectors
A two-day workshop on ‘Strategies to Minimize Input Costs in Dairy, Poultry and Fisheries Sectors’ was conducted by ICRISAT Development Center in India on 26-27 August with the support of the Planning Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP).
The role of millets and sorghum in providing feed quality and minimizing input costs in dairy, poultry and fisheries sectors was emphasized at a workshop conducted for farmers of Andhra Pradesh, India. Given that feed cost constitutes 70% of milk production cost in dairy farming, reduction feed cost is vital. A localized fodder solution was sought by farmers who attended the meet.
Interacting with farmers, Mr SP Tucker, Special Chief Secretary, Planning Department, and Agricultural Production Commissioner, Government of Andhra Pradesh, asked them to develop an action plan as the department is preparing a credit plan of ₹ 1.25 trillion (US$ 18.93 billion) for the next five years.
Husbandry and Fisheries, GoAP, said that an integrated farming systems approach needs to be promoted vigorously in all districts to tackle present and future fodder issues. He pointed out that the primary cost for a farmer to maintain milk yields depends upon the type and cost of the feed.
The important role of fisheries in improving livelihoods of farmers and enhancing human health through improved nutrition was highlighted by Dr Rama Sankar Naik, Commissioner Fisheries, GoAP. He expressed concern over the quality of seed, feed and infrastructure in the state.
Key problems in the three sectors were identified by farmers and an action plan was developed based on their suggestions. Smallholder farmers urged officials to treat dairy as part of agriculture and not as a separate industry.
The role of fodder crops in the changing climate scenario was emphasized by Dr Peter Carberry, Deputy Director General – Research, ICRISAT. He said that ICRISAT’s mandate crops, millets and sorghum, play a crucial role in interlinking agriculture, dairy and fisheries sectors. With increasing pressure on farmers to produce more fodder for sustaining livelihood, the government plays a key role in strengthening the white revolution in the state, he added. He also compared the Australian and Indian dairy revolutions and how these countries play a vital role in the global context.
Dr Ramana Murthy, Managing Director, AP Dairy Development Cooperative Federation, expressed concern over the high production cost of milk in Andhra Pradesh compared to other states and talked about the need for enhancing efficiency of milk distribution.
Guest speakers Mr Narender Singh, a progressive dairy farmer from Ludhiana and Mr Baljinder Singh from Faridkot shared their experiences with fellow farmers from Andhra Pradesh. Scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), ICRISAT and officials from line departments of GoAP explained the various techniques used to minimize costs in dairy, poultry and fisheries sectors. Participating farmers were given opportunities to interact with members from the Planning Department and scientists from ICRISAT.