By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 14 Jun: The Mukhyamantri Ghasyari Kalyan Yojna (MGKY) is an innovative initiative taken by the Uttarakhand Cooperative Development Programme, Uttarakhand, to empower rural women by reducing their burden of fodder collection and venturing more into other income opportunities. Uttarakhand’s animal husbandry economy is large, with livestock population currently numbering 47.94 lakhs. More than 70% of the state’s population earns its livelihood from farming and livestock, etc. Animal Husbandry in the hills is mostly done by women with 88% of the farming population believing that it is their burden to bear. At present, more than 3 lakh women in the hills of Uttarakhand shoulder the responsibility of collecting fodder. The problem doesn’t stop there. A study done in Almora reported that women engaged in collecting fodder experience extreme pain in their shoulders, upper back, lower back and knees. Women travel up to 8-10 hours on foot in search of fuel and fodder.
UKCDP is slated to be a revolutionary policy that aims to relieve rural women from difficult circumstances of collecting fodder, avoid extremely heavy, unproductive workload, and accident-related grievances, while also increasing the availability of fodder by using scientific resources and tools to preserve crop remains and forage, reduce environmental pollution caused by burning forage, and increase the income of farmers by devising ways to improve health and milk producing abilities of cattle within the state.
Easy access to fodder can save the rural women 300-335 hours every month, allowing them to venture into other sources of income. The Uttarakhand Cooperative Development Programme under Cooperatives Minister Dhan Singh Rawat and Secretary R Meenakshi Sundaram has achieved major milestones in the state. The Mukhyamantri Ghasyari Kalyan Yojna aims to empower rural women and farmers through subsidised quality fodder that is easily available, eco-friendly and scientifically proven to improve milk production and reduce costs.
The aim is to use silage intervention to tackle the unavailability of fodder by using crop remains, sourcing affordable and quality raw feed, improve milk production in cattle by feeding uniformly grown fodder, and widen the access to quality feed to all the farmers. By using crop remains, the fodder obtained can be used to make silage, TMR, paper, cardboard and biofuel. This can be achieved in 4 steps – a) Unifying farmers, b) Collective community farming, c) Production of Silage, and d) Marketing & Distribution.
All state farmer beneficiaries will get silage/TMR/fodder blocks at subsidised rates. Approximately, 2000 agricultural families and 2000 acres of land will be cumulated to collectively grow maize. For the financial year 2021-2022, the goal is to attain 1,000 metric tonnes of production for Silage and TMR. A budget of 10.25 Crores will be required to provide front-end subsidy to farmers on silage and TMR in 2021-2022. This policy will run under SIFED that will be responsible for the collective community maize farming, silage, TMR, and Hay Blocks and its establishment, production, marketing and distribution systems.