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Production of Protein-rich Foliage for Cattle Begins

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Cattle grazing foliage

The Northeast monsoon has kicked off the cultivation of protein-rich foliage for cattle, particularly milch cows, in the districts of Vellore, Ranipet and Tirupattur, as woman workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme began sowing seeds on large tracts of land in these districts on Friday. 

The Minister for Handlooms and Textiles, R. Gandhi, commenced the cultivation by sowing grass seeds for the season at Ladavaram village panchayat in Arcot panchayat union, along with Ranipet Collector D. Bhaskara Pandian and Assistant Project Officer (APO), Rural Development Madhumita. 

The cultivation is being carried out in these districts as part of the State Fodder Development Programme (2020-2021), which is being carried out collaboratively by the Department of Animal Husbandry and the Department of Rural Development (RD)"Nutritious foliage is critical to increasing milch cow productivity and sustaining the livelihoods of poor farmers in drought-stricken places such as Vellore, Ranipet, and Dharamapuri." "Each district has one village designated to plant fodder and foliage for the entire district," J. Navaneetha Krishnan, Joint Director (JD), Department of Animal Husbandry (Vellore Region) stated. 

In these districts, a variety of plant species, including glyceridiaagathi, drumstick, and velvelam, pudding grass, rabbit spice, cenchrus ciliarisstylosanthessubabul, and neem, would be grown on wide tracts of land as cattle fodder. 

These are protein and vitamin-rich species that would provide a balanced diet for cattle all year. Greens such as SirukeeraiAraikeeraiMulaikeerai,Palak, ManathakkaliVasalaiParuppukeeraiVendhayakeeraiPulichakeeraiMudakathan, and Ponnangannikeerai will also be grown to supplement the income of marginal farmers in these districts. 

"We have a tough time getting adequate foliage for our animals throughout the summer and heavy rain. Such fodder farms with improved storage facilities would assist us in preserving our livelihood by cattle breeding," said K. Velpandi, a farmer from Anaicut near Vellore. 

Currently, 6,350 acres of land in the Vellore region, which  encompasses Ranipet and Tirupattur districts, are under foliage cultivation, with an estimated four lakh farmers relying on the free foliage supplied through this sort of agriculture for their cattle. 

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