Biotechnology 4 s Mahesh
Here crop-livestock integrated farming was the major source of livelihood & women in my village would mostly talk about fodder & livestock than chatting about their kids, their food & education. With ever reducing village commons & small land holdings, preferring fodder cultivation over growing food crops was considered a crazy idea then. Livestock would better graze in the nearby forest and survive largely on crop residues and lopped tree fodders.
Later, equipped with highest degrees in agricultural science from premier agricultural university and a veterinary research institute, I spent over six years during 1990s in Central Himalayan region of India as an Agricultural extension scientist. I extensively toured the region, to understand the local farmers & their problems so as to find ways to improve their life through improved livestock productivity.
I found feed and fodder scarcity was still a major constraint in the region, making life of rural women further stressful adding to drudgery as they had to spend most of their time in collecting fuel wood & fodder for livestock. Livestock has always been an integral part of mountain mixed farming system, which not only provide milk & meat but also an important source of manure for fertilizing soil.
From my childhood to half a century now, the women in this region still discuss the same old problem-fodder! my mother over 80 years now, whenever, I go to my village, her major worry remains- fodder for her single cow! Pity, I can’t help my mother- for things as small as grass!!!
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