Futuristic Feed Resources Problems and Potential

Due to ever teeming human population, there is hardly any scope for increasing area under pasture and cultivated fodders. In this crunch situation, animals cannot be allowed to compete with man for this scare resource. Most of the developing countries have been battling against the problem of how to adequately feed their livestock because of inadequate production of conventional feedstuffs. This has led to animal nutritionists looking for other ways of solving the feed problem. One of these is to increase the use of unconventional feed ingredients notably the agro industrial by products and farm waste for which human beings do not compete. Today, emphasis could be given on the utilization of vegetable and fruit wastes/residues, which are left either from processing plants or from the field where the crop is harvested. The high cost of disposal of residues from the production and processing of foods makes their use in animal feed an attractive proposition. 

During the past three decades, agro-industrial sector has grown and developed in to a major sector with 5000 enterprises. India has made remarkable progress in vegetable and fruit research and development with a total production of 90.80 and 45.49 million tons for vegetable and fruit, respectively. The country is the second largest producer of these items in the world. However, hardly 2 per cent of which is processed (The Hindu Survey of Indian Agriculture 2002) and 33 % wasted during harvesting, marketing and processing (Gangadhar et al., 1993). There is a need to aim at increasing food processing from a low of 2 % as at present to 10% by 2010 (Saigal, 2001).

Vegetable/fruit residues like pea pods, carrot, processing waste of tomatoes, potatoes, and banana peels, citrus pulp and peel, ash gourd's skin etc. seem to have potential for livestock feed if processed suitably.

The utilization of these by products to that about 30-40 per cent of total production is potentially available for livestock feeding, and to some extent can fill up the gap of supply and demand of conventional feeds. If it is assumed because of export rejection, accidentally damage in the field and during transportation, domestic vegetable/fruit residues etc. In this way, approximately 41-54 million tons could be available each year for use as livestock feed.

The on site processing of byproducts in to feed blocks, silage, hay etc. would reduce the solid waste management and environment pollutants. This will also generate some additional income (FAO, 1975.) However, very little attempts have been made to exploit the utilization of these residues as feeds for livestock. Recently some efforts were made at NDRI to utilize carrot and pea pods in goat's ration, which gave promising results. It is certain that utilization of vegetable/fruit residues can contribute to minimization of final waste amounts which is not only a requirement from an ecological point of view, but also sound for the economy as a whole.