Forestry's contribution to livestock feed in Uttarakhand, India: a quantitative assessment of volume and economic value

Livestock sector forms an important livelihood activity for farmers, through supporting agriculture and supplementing income in India. The lack of availability of sufficient feed is one of the major limiting factors for better productivity of livestock. The feed are of two types as roughages (high in crude fibrous material) available at public forest, farm lands, etc. and concentrates (high in nutrients and mixture of oil, coarse grain, and cereals). The general degradation of forest reduces the fodder availability, severely. Therefore, improving forest condition may provide pathways for sustainability of both, livestock and forest. This may be addressed through sustainable forest management, which requires scientific inputs and may be shifting of some demand of locals to other resources. This requires huge amount from government. Presently, livestock sector is part of the Agriculture and Allied Activities sector in the accounting system of India, and therefore, all related shares and expenditure is part of the component. This results into under allocation for the actual shares of forestry contribution to livestock, in the Forestry and Logging sector. This occurs primarily, due to the lack of scientific information on the share and value of fodder from forest. This study has been undertaken to estimate the share and economic value of forests derived livestock feed. Primary data has been collected as per pretested questionnaire from 316 randomly selected households engaged in livestock rearing from 66 villages distributed across the Uttarakhand, India. Information pertaining to the fodder to livestock from all sources and socio-economic attributes were collected from each household to understand the feed consumption behavior of livestock. The feed sources were classified in forests, other than forests and market. The shares and economic value of livestock feed derived from different sources has been estimated for all livestock. The prices of various feeds were either collected directly from market or estimated through non market valuation techniques based on two scenarios (contingent valuation and ratio of dry and green matter basis of 0.40). The average proportion of feed quantity consumed by livestock was 58% from forests, 39% from other than forests and 3% from markets for hilly region. It was 97% from other than forests and 3% from markets for plain region. For hilly region, the proportion of economic value varies from 40– 41% for forest; 40– 41% for agriculture and 18– 20% from market. The total value of forest fodder was Rs 4811 millions in scenario 1 and Rs 5209 millions in scenario 2 for the Uttarakhand. The study concludes and recommends that these proportions may be utilized to allocate the appropriate share of livestock feed into Forestry and Logging sector, which may results into the realistic share of the sector.
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