Karnataka: No fodder, livestock sold at throwaway price

Farmers are selling their cattle at throwaway prices in North Karnataka

Hubballi: Forty-eight year-old Anand Chahwan is a middleman engaged in purchase and sale of cattle from farmers in one of the biggest cattle markets in Dharwad for the last two decades and is making a fortune this season. The absence of adequate fodder has turned out be a boon for him as farmers are selling their cattle at throwaway prices in North Karnataka region due to failure of the monsoon.

It is also a blessing for hundreds of such middlemen and other agents as drought has engulfed the region. The agents earn thousands of rupees while helping strike a deal between farmers and buyers in the cattle transaction.

Another middleman Maruthi Chahwan has been taking lorries loaded with livestock for sale to various cattle markets in Hubli, Saundatti, Ramdurg, Yaragatti and other towns by purchasing them directly from farmers. He earns around '5,000 profit per animal and has developed good relations with farmers by providing financial assistance to them. The farmers also need his help as most of them are illiterate and weak in bargaining power. The owners of cow slaughter houses are flocking the cattle market to cash in on the drastic fall in the prices of livestock. The administration is yet to take drought relief measures though the government has released funds to the district.

"I have sold my two cows for half the price due to unavailability of fodder. The cost of fodder has gone up to '8,000 per tractor and officials have failed to supply the fodder. Absence of agricultural activity due to failure of the monsoon prompted me to sell the cattle to middlemen. Moreover, poor farmers sell their cattle suffering from diseases with no proper medical treatment provided by the animal husbandry department", said farmer Maruti Kuraber of Ettinagudd village in Dharwad taluk.

The farmers with large agricultural land holdings have kept adequate fodder for their cattle. But small farmers are facing severe hardship as their crop has withered.

Dharwad deputy commissioner P Rajendra Cholan said that he has sought a report of fodder requirement from the panchayat development officers and revenue inspectors. He said the fodder bank will be started soon in drought-hit villages based on this report.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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