The farmers in Yangchenphu village under Sarpang, since long, have abandoned agricultural practice due to a lack of modern farming technology and irrigation water source in the area. The situation, for about 25 farming households, is made worse by the growing human-wildlife conflict.
To help the farmers earn a viable source of income, the livestock sector in Sarpang is promoting fodder production in the village.
The green fodder production program is also aimed at easing fodder shortage during lean seasons.
“Intervention from the livestock sector in fodder seed production program in the village was a positive move” said livestock officials.
The livestock sector reported that farmers who are seriously engaged in fodder production and also the sale of fodder seeds can earn Nu 20,000 per crop individually.
In addition, the fodder from the harvested seeds have not only helped farmers to generate additional income after the introduction of green fodder production program, but also helped supply the fodder to the high elevation dairy farms where green plants do not grow to feed the livestock in winter.
Therefore, the production of green fodder is helping to supply quality fodder to local farms and the new semi-commercial, commercial and mega dairy farms establishment set up in the 11FYP.
One of the farmers involved in fodder production said that the fodder shortage is hard on animals in the higher altitude and it is even known to claim the lives of the calves. He added that the mass cultivation of fodder is a viable business venture for the farmers as there is always a need for fodder in the livestock farms.
Besides the paddy straw feed block production program aimed to ease fodder shortage by the National Centre for Animal Nutrition (NCAN), the green fodder production program has catered fodder roots slips for 16 acres of farmlands in 2013-2014.
However, there are major expenses incurred for plastic materials and transportation, escalating the cost of production. In the initial period of the program, the cost of materials and transportation, supported by NCAN, Bumthang, supplied the ensiled fodder for Nu 4 per kilogram.
The livestock sector is concerned about the continuity and sustainability of the program. They are looking at the possibility of packaging materials or reusing the plastic bags to ensure the affordability and cheaper sale of ensiled fodder in the long run.
The innovative green fodder production program was initiated by the Dzongkhag Livestock Sector in collaboration with the National Centre for Animal Nutrition (NCAN), Bumthang.