Sunday, December 11, 2005

The ‘Other’ Food Crisis

"Protection and grazing ground for the cows are among
the essential needs for society and the welfare of people in general."

Light of the Bhavavata: Verse 27

"There is so much about rural India that escapes notice that one more area of neglect will not break the camel’s back. I am talking about the crisis of fodder for livestock. A grim silence surrounds it. ‘Grim’, because in rural India, domestic animals aren’t ‘pets’ but engines that drive the economy. They provide resilience and wealth — people cope with adverse conditions because of their livestock. But no policy exists on how to feed these 500 million or so animals. Rural India today isn’t fodder-secure, and the grim reality is that food security in this country is not possible without fodder security.

Fodder insecurity begins with the question: where are these animals to get their food from? In India, less land has been set aside for domestic livestock than for ‘flora and fauna’: protected areas such as sanctuaries and national parks sprawl over 15 million hectares (ha), while land classified as ‘permanent pastures’ cover 11 million ha. Moreover, over the years, these ‘permanent pastures’ have shrunk or simply degraded..."

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