The state Panchayats and Rural Development (P&RD) department has laid special emphasis on hydroponic fodder cultivation to provide a boost to livestock activities across the state.
West Bengal Area Comprehensive Area Development Corporation (WBCADC)—an autonomous organization under the P&RD department—has already taken up 14 projects across the state by involving over 300 Self Help Groups(SHGs), who have been trained in this type of cultivation, in which plants are grown without soil.
"Goats are like an ATM to the rural people. It not only provides milk but is often given as dowry during a girl's wedding. However, lack of pasture land is posing a problem of grazing for the goat. The hydroponic fodder is highly nutritious and acts as a balanced food for the goat," a senior official of WBCADC said.
Several people in the rural areas earn a livelihood through goatery. But, they have no pasture land of their own. The goat often goes to graze on other people's land.
Hydroponic fodder can be produced by growing seeds without soil and with very little water. Within seven days, the seeds are sprouted. Compared to conventional fodder production, it requires much less water and hence can be produced regularly throughout the year. .
While the market price of green fodder is Rs 18 per 500 gm, hydroponic fodder is priced at only Rs 4 per 500 gm. Considering the fact that an adult goat requires 4 kg food daily, hydroponic fodder is highly economical.
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