Cattle a burden on sellers, buyers

High cost of fodder and scarcity of water a problem.

Hyderabad: Lack of fodder and water coupled with shortage of money in the second straight year of drought is forcing farmers to sell their cattle. According to All India Kisan Sangham vice-president S. Malla Reddy, cattle that have five years to live are being sent to slaughter houses. Farmers say they cannot afford to purchase fodder for the animals, or even provide water. Feed for two buffaloes costs Rs 200; up from about Rs 30.

Mr Malla Reddy said, “This problem exists in nearly 380 mandals of Telangana. Farmers are not in a position to keep the cattle at home, fearing that they may fall sick and die.” Selling cattle is not easy as there are few takers. Sales at the shandies at Warangal, Ranga Reddy, Medak, Mahbubnagar, Nizamabad, Nalgonda and Adilabad districts have fallen. At a weekly shandy at Shankarpally in Ranga Reddy district every Wednesday, only 169 animals — buffaloes, cows, bulls and sheep — were sold recently. This is almost half of what was sold two months back.

The number of cattle sold from February to April 2016 was 11,957, against 19,305 in the same period last year. Dasarath, a farmer with four buffaloes, who had come to the Shankerpally market, said, “It is becoming increasingly difficult for me. So I decided to sell a buffalo but the rate being offered is very low,” he said. His son Lingam, an engineer who is preparing for his Group-2 exam, said the family had never experienced such a situation. Two years of drought conditions has spelt doom, he said.

Narasimha Reddy, a farmer from Alamkhanguda, said he had to sell his buffalo as he was unable to provide fodder or water for its upkeep. Middlemen are also having it rough. Mohammed Ibrahim from Daulatabad said, “We buy and sell cattle at weekly markets held on different days in Ranga Reddy district. Due to the present situation, not many people are coming forward to buy. We are forced to sell cattle with low margins of Rs 200 to Rs 500 for each animal,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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