An account is given of the fodder situation in rural India with a view to developing a strategy for optimising fodder production and its efficient utilisation by the poor, especially those living in or around forest regions.
The emerging trend in livestock growth suggests an overall rising trend with an increase in small ruminants in coming years. This is likely to put greater pressure on natural fodder resources like forests and other grazing areas. To enhance farm income, incorporating fodder into joint forest management programmes is a welcome step but requires greater impetus. Optimisation of fodder production from arable lands and efficient utilisation of crop residues are expected to relieve at least some of the pressure on natural fodder resources. There is also an urgent need to adopt appropriate technologies backed by policy and institutional mechanisms to enhance rural incomes from livestock enterprises.