Feed and Fodder: The Challenges India to Face in Coming Future

Till date India is an agrarian country as 55-70 % human population is dependent on agriculture and allied sector for there livelihood which contributes 17.32 % of GDP in Indian economy (GOI, 2017). The animal husbandry and livestock production is backbone of the Indian agriculture provides employments to 70 % of rural population contributing 4.43 % of the national GDP, which is 25.27 % total agricultural GDP (GOI, 2017). The contribution of agriculture to national GDP as well as contribution of livestock sector into agriculture GDP is found to be increased in current years. The demand of livestock products is found increasing constantly which is driven by sustained economics, rising income, industrialization and ultimately increase in affordability.

The Indian livestock system is low input low output based system. The livestock population in India is increasing continuously. India consist of 20 % of the worlds livestock population while covers only 2.3 % geographical area. But, recent livestock population growth trends of India does not match with the require trend of livestock growth rate due to various reason. In order to exploit the production potential of our livestock fully, feeding of balanced and adequate feed is need of time. Without balanced feeding, it is really difficult to maintain balance between the livestock production and their health.

Graph 1: Projected livestock population estimates (million adult cattle units) (In million tonnes)

Sources: Dikshit and Birthal, (2010), Dutta, (2013), GOI, (2017), https://tradingeconomics.com/india/gdp-from-agriculture

In current scenario India suffers from severe shortage of feeds and fodder resources. There are many reasons to be mentioned; due to fast industrialization and increasing human population continuous increase in pressure on available land for crop production and housing; hence the land available for grazing as permanent pasture and fodder cultivation has been decreasing. In addition, shift from forage crops to cash/commercial crops like cotton, soybean, and mustard, castor, fruits etc. also lead to shortage of crop residue; which widens the gap between the demand and supply of fodder. Considering it as a serious problem a collective efforts are the need of time by all concerns for augmenting the feed and fodder resources to fulfill the gap.

Presently our country is facing net deficit of 63.50 % green fodder, 23.56 % dry crop residues and 64 % concentrate feeds (Dikshit and Birthal, 2010; Dutta, 2013). Cheaper forage and feed techniques are need of time to lessen the cost of production of superiority livestock produce as the feed and fodder comprises 60-70 % of production cost. The domestic animals population is just about 500 million which is projected to increase at the rate of 1.23% in the near future. There is tremendous stress of animals fodder on accessible sum of forage and feed, as cultivated land obtainable for fodder cultivation has been declining.

Graph 2: Supply and demand scenario of forage and roughage till 2050 (in million tonnes)

Sources: GOI, 2015. IGFRI vision 2050. http://www.icar.org.in/Vision%202050%20IGFRI,%20Jhansi.pdf

GOI, 2011. IGFRI vision 2039. http://www.igfri.ernet.in/pdf/Vision-2030.pdf., Dutta, (2013)

The adequate and uninterrupted availability of fodder is a prerequisite for improving the productivity of livestock and to make livestock production cost efficient. Without ensuring an adequate supply of quality feed and fodder, the achievement of targeted growth of livestock sector in the coming years looks almost impossible.

Production of feed and fodder and its utilization in our country depend upon the cropping pattern, climatic zone, socioeconomic condition and type of livestock holding. The cattle and buffaloes are normally used for milk production and stall-fed on the fodder available from cultivated land and supplemented with small amount of harvested grasses mainly during rainy season and winter; whereas supply of green grass in summer is nearly zero except in some well organised farms. As per small ruminant sheep and goat is concern grazing on pastures, browsing and harvested grasses are the main fodder sources. Horses are mainly stall fed with dry straw of pulses, green fodder and some soaked pulses; as well as allowed for open pasture grazing depending upon availability of pasture. Whereas camels are fed on lopping of trees and browse on standing trees and shrubs. Concentrates feeding throughout India is generally restricted to lactating high yielding bovines and heavy work animals. Crop-residues is the major sources of fodder along with that cultivated fodder and grass/tree leaves/fodder from common property resources such as gauchar land, forest, permanent pastures and grazing lands are being used.

Livestock farmers are now establishing their own fodder plots for feeding the livestock population they are holding. These fodder crops may be classified as annual/temporary and perineal/permanent crops. Perineal/permanent crops relate to land used permanently (five years or more) for herbaceous forage crops, either cultivated or growing wild (wild prairie or grazing land/gauchar land). They may include some areas of forest lands that are used for grazing. Temporary crops grow in artificial meadows which are normally used very intensively, with various cuttings every year. They contain three major groups of fodder: grasses, which includes cereals harvested green; legumes, which includes pulses harvested green; and root crops that are cultivated for fodder purpose.


Datta, D., 2013. Indian fodder management towards 2030: A case of vision or myopia. International Journal of Management and Social Science Research, 2(2), 33-41.

Dikshit, A.K. and Birthal, P.S., 2010. India's Livestock Feed Demand: Estimates and Projections. Agricultural Economics Research Review, 23(1), 15-28.

GOI, 2017. Planning commission, Ministry Of Statistics and Program Implementation, Government of India.

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