Participatory Fodder Production in Mango Orchards in Karnataka
Shrinking farm size has consequence in apportioning it for perennial fodder cultivation by farmers. Non competitive land use for fodder production is hence inevitable to meet fodder deficiency situation. Karnataka is one of the important mango (Mangifera indica L.) producing states of the country. Inter row spaces in prime fruiting mango orchards provide opportunity for cultivation of perennial fodder crops. The common mango planting distance followed is 10 m by 10 m giving minimum 7-8 m inter space for introducing fodder crops. Karnataka has an estimated 90,000 ha in prime fruiting mango crop which if put under fodder crops is estimated to produce 39.5 lakh tons of green fodder in a year meeting more than seven lakh livestock's green fodder requirement round the year. This potential niche area was exploited successfully for introduction of improved high yielding fodder crops through participatory mode. The process started with pilot activity in 2013-14 covering only five mango growers in an area of five acres. The reassuring response received was en-cashed by scaling up in 2014-15 by linking with livestock based voluntary organizations to shorten rapport building time, series of field oriented trainings to farmers enabling them to select fodder species as per their resource matrix, providing seeds and planting materials, reconnaissance and data collection on diverse parameters including farmer to farmer spread of these crops.