Home / India News / UP to cultivate Napier grass to provide nutritious fodder to cows
Officials in Bulandshahr have hit upon the idea of cultivating Napier grass at 92 locations linked with gaushalas to provide nutritional fodder to cows living in shelters across the district.
Napier is a perennial tropical grass which needs little water and nutrients and can also thrive on land not used for crop cultivation.
The project will be completed under grassland cultivation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MGNREGS). The district administration has tied up with the Jhansi-based Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute (IGFRI) to seek technical training for cultivation of Napier grass.
Purushottam Sharma, principal scientist of IGFRI, said that cultivation of Napier grass had gone up in the past few years and many states had shown interest in it. “The Bulandshahr district administration also approached the institute with similar demand and we are providing them technical assistance for its cultivation,” he said.
Sharma explained that Napier grass was also known as Uganda grass. It was a perennial tropical forage crop used as fodder. It was not a complete nutrition but a good source of energy, so it was fed directly to cattle or made into hay. It is grown throughout the year.
Chief development officer (CDO) of Bulandshahr, Abhishek Pandey, who is responsible for maintenance and management of the 154 rural area gaushalas in the district, said that amid complaints of substandard fodder in gaushalas, an idea of providing the animals nutritional food through Napier grass came up and after seeking guidance of IGFRI, plan to cultivate Napier grass was finalised.
Pandey claimed that Bulandshahr is the first district which has initiated Napier grass cultivation through MGNREGS under its grassland cultivation work.
He said that after several rounds of discussions with district magistrate Ravindra Kumar and other officials, 92 of 154 locations linked with gaushalas were selected for cultivation of Napier grass and preparation was already underway at 39 locations.
Sharma said that an online training on technicalities of cultivation and other requirements was held in July and field visit would also be planned as per the requirement.
CDO Pandey elaborated that initially 240 quintals of grass had been demanded from the IGFRI for cultivation and its arrival was expected this week. “It has been delayed because a few staff at IGFRI were detected corona positive and work was stalled for a few days,” he said.
To recall, Sanjay Sharma, BJP MLA from Anoopshahr constituency of the district had sat on an overnight dharna outside the gaushala of Nangal Karam village on Friday because villagers had lodged a complaint about supply of inadequate fodder and other problems in the cow shelter. “It is a great initiative of the district authorities. It would help in resolving non availability of fodder and provide nutritional food to cattle,” said the MLA.