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LAHORE: The Punjab government has approved a Rs667 million two years project to subsidize silage machines to help the livestock farmers making silage (grass or other green fodder compacted and stored in airtight conditions, typically in a silo, without first being dried) for usage during the periods when green fodder is short for the animal feed.

"Silage making machines are available in the market at present at the rate of Rs1.2 million and the Livestock and Dairy Development Department (L&DDD) has decided to extend a subsidy of Rs300,000 to those livestock farmers who are interested in having their own machines," said Deputy Secretary L&DDD (Planning) Khalid Chaudhry while talking to Business Recorder here on Thursday.

There are two periods in a year when fodder is short in Punjab i.e., December-January and May-June and farmers can help feeding their lactating animals or others by serving silage. Farmers interested in obtaining this subsidy has to buy the machines as specified by the department and deposit their share of money Rs800,000 to Rs900,000 while subsidy will directly be given to the seller company by the department.

Farmers having 05 to 20 acres of land and animals around 25 (both big and small) are eligible to get this subsidy. Farmers can buy silage from the market at Rs13-14 per kg at present while by using these machines they can prepare silage for their animals at the rate of Rs4-5 per kg.

The department has planned to subsidize 12 machines each in every Tehsil of the province. "Applications will be invited from the intending farmers and balloting will be arranged if total number of applicants increased from the number of machines to be subsidized," said Chaudhry.

Presently this project is only for two years and seeing interest it can be enhanced and number of subsidized machines can also be increased. He said that at present 73 companies are selling silage in the open market while some of them are also exporting silage to Middle Eastern countries. There is no need of a pilot of this project as agriculture extension has already experienced success of subsidizing different machineries in the province, he concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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