‘Go Samriddhi’ to keep Kerala’s milk cans full

At a time when the Kerala is facing acute shortage of milk, a 30 percent increase in local milk production may seem a tall order. But that’s what’s being planned as part of efforts to keep the milk cans full in the years ahead.

In two weeks’ time, the State Government will formally launch a fully Centre- funded project, which among other things, aims at increasing milk production in the State by 30 percent in the next five years.

 

While the local milk production in Kerala has increased from 20.8 lakh litres a year to 21.3 lakh litres, it is still 20 percent short of the demand, which is only going to increase. Also, with the number of households with cows on the decline, organised dairy farming is being touted as the sole solution.

`Go Samriddhi,’ a Rs 25.8 crore, five-year project is being implemented through the Government’s Kulathuppuzha and Mattupetty dairy farms by the Animal Husbandry Department, the Kerala Livestock Development Board (KLDB) and the Dairy Development Department.

 

Increasing milk production aside, the project aims to introduce a highly-productive head of cattle through innovative breeding techniques.

Under it, the KLDB will `adopt’ 10,000 high-yielding cows owned by dairy farmers across the State. The animals will be kept by the farmers, but the KLDB will provide high-value breeding materials like germplasm free of cost.

 

The plan is to have ten cows each under the care of a government vet. The farmer has to meet feeding and treatment costs only. There is also a plan under the project to adopt a village so as to monitor and aid cattle breeding, he said. After receiving the Centre’s goahead to import bovine germplasm, the KLDB recently floated global tenders for importing pedigreed bulls from abroad.

Under the `Go Samriddhi’ project, the plan is to hand over cows produced through embryo transfer to the farmers and milk to the MILMA (Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation).

The first-generation bulls produced thus will be retained by the KLDB.The project also offers job opportunities. Unemployed educated youth will be trained to start artificial cattle insemination centres across the State.

The National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding (NPCBB) is meeting the lion’s share of the cost of the `Go Samriddhi’ – Rs 23 crore. The Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (Rs 1.4 crore) and the centrally sponsored programme (Fodder) (Rs 1.4) is putting in the rest.