Many sell cows for fodder crisis
Rearing cattle in Dinajpur and Rangpur has become expensive due to fodder crisis caused by the flood in August this year.
Many farmers and owners sold their cattle as they were unable to afford the expensive fodder for the animals.
District livestock officials said there are around 30 lakh cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep in the districts. These animals survive on natural resources, including grass and paddy straw, they added.
Cattle owners said they have been facing an acute shortage of grass and paddy straw. Vast tracts of grass field in the districts were damaged badly due to the flood and the paddy straw of the previous season was either washed away or damaged badly.
“After the flood, the demand for paddy straw has gone up as most rural people are using it for rebuilding their houses, damaged during the flood. Many are also using those as fuel instead of feeding the animals,” said Afzal Ali of Uttampara in Khansama upazila of Dinajpur.
Some dishonest traders have raised the price of fodder two or three-fold, farmers and owners alleged. One maund of paddy straw is being sold for Tk 750, said Bimal Roy of Satnala village in Chirirbandar upazila of Dinajpur. The price of Napier grass has also risen, he added.
Paddy straw trader Anwar Hossain said they bring paddy straw from other districts, including Thakurgaon and Panchagarh to meet the local demand. “We pay Tk 650 per maund,” he added.
Price of Napier grass has also gone up almost three times, cattle owners said.
“I have not seen such a crisis in the district in the last 10 years,” said Dablu Rahman, owner of 10 cattle in Dinajpur Sadar upazila. He said he had to sell three of his cows last week due to the fodder crisis.
Livestock officer Dr Md Altaf Hossain said green fodder contains high amount of proteins.
Ferdous Mia of Habugram village in Gangachara upazila of Rangpur said he sold two of his cattle as he is unable to buy fodder. “One kilogram of paddy straw costs Tk 25 which a cow can consume in an hour,” he added.
Many cattle owners are using almost matured paddy plants as fodder, said Md Rashedul Islam of the village.
The situation will improve in a month if the paddy harvesting starts in full swing, Dr Altaf said.