Kerala Feeds to Increase Output to Help Farmers
Thiruvananthapuram: Since the interests of dairy farmers are its primary concern, the public sector Kerala Feeds Limited (KFL) will go ahead with plans to increase production of good quality cattle feed at affordable price, unfazed by market pulls, Minister for Forest, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development K Raju said here on Saturday.
“Though KFL is experiencing loss, it will ensure availability of good quality cattle feed in sufficient quantity by stepping up production. It has been under pressure to raise the price in tune with that of other brands in the market ,” Raju said while inaugurating the state-level workshop organised to mark the World Dairy Day. The Thodupuzha unit of KFL would be opened soon, further increasing the output of its premium cattle feed brands, he said.
Stating that efforts are in the final stages to bring in a law to ensure the quality of cattle feed, which will be the first in the country, the Minister said the officials concerned had held several meetings in drawing up the draft for it. On the loss suffered by dairy farmers during the devastating flood last year, Shri Raju said permanent elevated cattle sheds will be set up in flood-prone areas to avert disasters in future.
“For the first time, the State Government earmarked Rs 5 crore in the budget for writing off the debts of dairy farmers. The Centre has sanctioned a Rs 43 crore-project for helping dairy farmers. The project, under which upto Rs 30,000 will be provided for each farmer for buying cows, will be launched on June 8, in Ernakulam,” he said.
The state’s milk production increased by three per cent during 2018-19, notwithstanding the floods, he said.
“The government had allotted Rs 107 crore in the budget for the dairy sector. Many projects are on the anvil to monitor the quality of milk coming from outside the state,” he added. V S Sivakumar, MLA, who presided over the function, said Milma has to ramp up its market presence to pip the substandard milk and milk products deluging the Kerala market. Devendra Kumar Singh IAS, Addl. Chief Secretary, and Agricultural Production Commissioner, said Kerala stood second after Punjab in the productivity of milk. S Sreekumar, Director, Dairy Development Department, welcomed the gathering.
Addressing the valedictory session, KFL Chairman K S Indusekharan Nair said the PSU has been facing loss by holding the price of cattle feed affordable to farmers. The Government should back KFL in sustaining its policy of serving the interests of farmers, he said. He also suggested that the dairy farmers should be extended support to convert the conventional farms into high-tech ones, which will accentuate the efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in milk production.
District Panchayat President V K Madhu, P A Balan Master, Chairman, Milma, and John Theruvath, Chairman, Dairy Production Union, Ernakulam Region, were also present. Thiruvananthapuram Mayor V K Prashant and Deputy Mayor Rakhi Ravikumar distributed presents to the winners of painting competition held on the occasion.
V P Suresh, Kumar Deputy Director, proposed a vote of thanks.