From last one week there is a debate in TV channels and news papers about cattle trade ban and beef ban by the government. There is no news paper or channel that debated on the issue as to what makes the farmers to sell their cattle and buffalo. There are farmers who still think that having cattle and buffaloes are the gift of god. I am son of a farmer and grandson of a farmer. At the age of 80, they think that the cows and buffaloes do not eat or drink water when the master is not near them. My grandfather at the old age still wants to spend time with cattle that he loves.
The farmers who own cattle as much as 11 to 16 in numbers, employees a separate worker to see only the cattle and feed them. The farmers are having difficulties with the workers who do not come regularly to the work. The reason being is, such working labours choose to go to various government schemes, where they don’t have to do any work and can earn 200 rupees as minimum daily wage, in half a day. Hence, it is becoming difficult for farmers to maintain a worker who works regularly. To reduce the cost of cattle maintenance, the farmers are selling the cattle one by one.
The cow and buffalo give milk only when it has a calf. It will make burden to the farmers to keep them when they don’t have cow with a calf. And the farmers either sell or wait with it for minimum 12 to 16 months for new calf. The herd of cattle with out calf will increase burden on farmer to feed them daily. The farmer has to grow separate grass in his farmland to feed the cattle, reducing usable land for the plantation of crops. To grow such grass, he needs to water it twice a week and use fertilizer. Also the milching time of the cattle plays a hurdle too as they are generally 5 AM in the morning or evening 5 PM. The working labour is not interested to come in the morning or don’t want to stay till 5 PM. This also increases the burden on the farmer. Sometimes the farmers don’t have the resources to feed the cattle.
The farmers still believe the traditional method of getting milk from cattle is good for health and not using the milking machine which may lead to cancer to the udder of the cow. Farmers having a large land of around 40 acres will use some part of the land for grazing the cattle in summer where there is no plantation and uses the motor pump for providing water to the cattle. Providing water to cattle in summer is becoming difficult for farmers due shortage of rainfall and reduction of ground water level. The small farmers having less land but have cattle wander with the cattle from land to land as they don’t have motor pump to provide water to the cattle. The small farmers will get water for the plantation of crops from big farmers who are having motor pump. Small farmers with difficulties obtain water for agriculture hence, the big farmers will not allow the small farmer’s cattle to gaze. The dung and urine of the cattle make natural fertilizer to the soil, but the farmers are loosing it.
The government provide food resources for cattle to the farmers but not all the farmers have money and necessary vehicle to bring down the cattle food from the provider stationed in far place. The small cattle growers generally have 2 to 5 cows or buffaloes, sometimes making them difficult to feed. Hence, he sells the cattle and turn into working labour, thus becoming producer to consumer. The cattle farmers face difficulties with labour, cost of maintenance and shortage of resources.
In villages the farmers sell the milk to others and the money made from this, is used to meet his household expenses. In villages people believe donating a cow to a Brahmin gives blessings to the family and kids.
So, please debate on what makes the farmers to sell their cows and buffaloes and the difficulties they are facing and what government should do for the traditional farmers.