Livestock the challenges and the opportunities inLivestock the challenges and the opportunities in

Livestock sector is an important contributor towards the country’s economy. It contributes around 4 percent in India’s GDP. Feed component is one of the key pillars of the livestock sector. It accounts for 65-70 percent of the total cost of production and maintenance of the livestock. The sector is dominated by unorganized players. Hence, it is important to understand the feed and fodder production system, the marketing channels and the relationship existing between the stakeholders. It will help to identify the gaps and the inefficiencies along the value chain.The study is undertaken with the objectives of reviewing the present status of animal feed sector, identifying the various actors involved in the livestock feed value chain, studying the marketing channels and the associated marketing costs in the feed value chain. Additionally, the constraints in the livestock feed value chain and the challenges and the opportunities in the animal feed sector has also been identified.The study is pertaining to Gujarat and has included both the secondary as well as primary data. Secondary data are collected from government publications particularly from the Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Animal Husbandry of Gujarat state as well as Government of India. For primary data, livestock farmers, fodder growing farmers, traders and other stakeholders are surveyed using multistage sampling. Data are collected using pre-tested structured survey schedule. In all, 200 livestock farmers, 200 fodder growing farmers and 50 traders are interviewed. Additionally, Gaushala, Panjrapole and Government officials are also interviewed.Data are analyzed using descriptive statistics and spatial presentation in map. Chi-square test of independence, logistic regression, marketing efficiency analysis and Garrett’s ranking technique are also used for analysis.Findings reveal that livestock sector contributes more than 20 percent towards Gujarat State’s Agriculture GDP. State is one of the front runner in terms of milk production. Livestock population is increasing at a higher rate (11.78 percent during last quinquennium). The value of output of the key input i.e., fodder is ?21 billion which is 6 percent of the value of output of livestock sector in the state and is contributing a little more (6.5 percent) towards the national value of output of fodder. The state has almost stagnant area under fodder crop as well as pasture and other grazing land. The North Gujarat region has maximum area under fodder cultivation (606.4 thousand hectare). The region has highest milk production in the state. The districts of Banaskantha, Sabarkantha and Mahesana, all three top milk producting districts fall in the north region of Gujarat.Dairy cooperatives in Gujarat are producing more than one billion tonne cattle feed annually (1.35 billion tonnes in 2014-15). Banaskantha based Banas dairy is contributing 27.24 percent followed by Anand based Amul dairy. Primary survey revealed that the livestock farming is still dominated by illiterate or having education below tenth standard (90 percent). Majority of the livestock farmers are cultivating fodder to feed their animals (62 percent). Those without land are fully dependent on purchase. Maize, pearl millet, sorghum, lucerne, green grass and sugarcane are found to be commonly used green fodder. The straw of paddy and wheat; stover of sorghum, groundnut, pigeon pea, black gram and mustard are used as dry fodder for the livestock. About 25 percent farmers are purchasing green fodder, dry fodder purchasing farmers are 53 percent, whereas 78 percent farmers are purchasing compound feed.The fodder market is largely unorganized and informal particularly for the green and the dry fodder. Local traders exist in between the fodder cultivating farmer and the livestock owner. Within village sale of fodder takes place directly between fodder farmer and the livestock owner. Concentrate purchase by the livestock farmer involves trader and local retailer or cooperative.The producer’s share in consumer’s rupee in marketing of maize, pearl millet and sorghum green fodder is 83.3 percent, whereas for lucerne, it is 80 percent. Producer’s share in consumer’s rupee in case of paddy straw which is transported to a relatively longer distance is 66.67 percent.It is found that fodder cultivation is significantly associated with dairy farming. Fodder cultivation is influenced by main occupation, dairy farming being the strongest predictor. More the number of dairy animal, more likely is the chances for a farmer to cultivate fodder. Scheduled tribe social group people are more likely to cultivate fodder.Land availability is identified as the biggest constraint for fodder cultivation followed by credit. In case of traders and retailers, the feed and fodder business is found to be less remunerative followed by high competition.Among the challenges, one of the biggest challenge is the reducing the gap in requirement and availability of all the three types of feed and fodder viz. green fodder, dry fodder and concentrate, finding ways to feed increasing number of livestock population and introduction of chaff cutting approach by chaff cutter for feeding fodder to the animals. Various opportunities in the feed and fodder sector are promoting silage to make fodder available round the year. Azolla fern cultivation can also be promoted which is rich in protein. Hydroponics as a way of addressing the limited land availability can be further studies for economic viability.The study concluded that animal feed and fodder sector is quite unorganized which is basically local in nature particularly in case of green and to a certain extent in dry fodder. There still exists gap in availability and requirement of feed and fodder in the state, which will be difficult to feed the increasing number of livestock.  The dairy farmers try to cultivate green fodder of their own, but land availability is found to be the biggest constraint for them.