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Post at: Aug 04 2021

Anti-Methanogenic Feed: Harit Dhara

Why in News?

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed an anti-methanogenic feed supplement ‘Harit Dhara’ which can cut down cattle methane emissions by 17-20%.

What is Harit Dhara?

  • Harit Dhara and Tamarin Plus is an anti-methanogenic feed supplement prepared from tannins and saponins containing natural phyto-sources. In addition, the product also contains a small fraction of ‘Selected oil” as an additive.

About Harit Dhara

  • Harit Dhara is found very effective in reducing enteric methane emission by 20% when incorporated in livestock feed. It can be fed to cattle, buffalo and sheep.
  • It decreases the population of protozoa microbes in the rumen which are responsible for hydrogen production and making it available to the archaea for reduction of CO2 to methane.

Concept of methane production in cattle

  • Methane is produced in the rumen of cattle after fermentation of plant natural and other feeds.
  • Carbohydrate fermentation leads to production of CO2 and hydrogen. These are used by archaea to produce methane.

Methane Emissions form cattle: a cause for concern

Cattles emit an estimated 9.25 mt to 14.2 mt of methane annually, out of total of 90 mt plus from livestock globally.

  • The 2019 livestock census showed India’s cattle population at 193.46 million.
  • Being largely fed on agricultural residues, ruminants in India tend to produce 50-100% higher methane than their industrial counterparts.
  • Methane has 25 times greater, potential than carbon dioxide (over 100 years) in the global warming as it is a greenhouse gas (GHG).

Advantages of Harit Dhara

  • It cuts down methane emission by cattle by 17-20% and also results in higher milk production and body weight gain.
  • Fermentation after using Harit Dhara will help produce more propionic acid, thereby providing more energy to cattles for lactose (milk sugar) production and hence economic benefits for farmers.

Other Government initiative for livestock

  • National Livestock Mission (launched in 2014-15)
  • To ensure qualitative and quantitative improvement in livestock production systems and capacity building for all staekholders.
  • National Artificial Insemination Programme (launched in September 2019)
  • To prevent the spread of certain diseases which are genetic in nature for ensuring efficiency of the breed.
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission (launched in December 2019)
  • Developing and conserving indigenous breeds of bovine population enhance milk production and make it more remunerative to the farmers.
  • Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) (launched in June 2020)
  • To support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.

Conclusion

Livestock production is linked with GHG emission and global warming. It has significant contribution to climate change. The launch of Harit Dhara will positively reduce the methane emission from livestock and also enhance the income of farmers, thus, in addition to environmental benefits, Harit Dhara will benefit all other stakeholders.

Abhay Pandey


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