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Kerala self-sufficient in milk production, to open milk-powder plant in Malabar
Kozhikode, November 28, 2020
Kerala has attained self-sufficiency in milk production and is poised to start a milk-powder plant in Malabar to process excess milk, State Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development K Raju said here on Thursday.
The work of the plant, coming up in Malappuram, will start this financial year. It will be run by Malabar Regional Co-operative Milk Producers' Union (MRCMPU) with technical assistance from National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development will extend financial support to the plant, a press release from Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (Milma) said.
The Minister made the announcement after inaugurating the state-level centenary celebrations of “Milkman” Dr Verghese Kurien, whose 1970s ‘White Revolution’ went on to make the country the world’s largest milk producer. The year-long programmes are being led by Milma.
Milma Chairman P A Balan Master presided over the ceremony at the headquarters of MRCMPU in Kozhikode, the birthplace of Dr Kurien (1921-2012). MRCMPU Chairman K S Mani welcomed the gathering.
Marking the occasion, the Milma brought out a special milk cover that carries the centenary logo of Dr Kurien. Also released was a special postal cover of Dr Kurien. Further, Milma launched two new products at the function.
Nirmala Kurien, daughter of India’s Milkman, unveiled a statue of Dr Kurien and delivered a commemoration lecture.
Raju said Kerala’s 3500-odd cooperative societies have enabled Milma to achieve a 12.46 per cent growth in milk production during the last fiscal. This was double the national average of 6.40 per cent during 2019-20.
Despite the floods Kerala faced in 2018 and ’19 monsoons, followed by a crisis owing to COVID-19 this year, the state’s milk cooperatives have clocked an impressive turnover. The high quality of Milma’s products should soon help the establishment earn bigger markets outside Kerala and abroad, he added, noting that the cooperative has 10 lakh farmers, one-fourth of whom are women.
The Minister hailed India’s refusal to sign the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), saying the international free trade agreement will work against India’s milk farmers. “We need to continue our fight against RCEP,” he reiterated.
Balan Master said Milma currently procured 15 lakh litres of milk daily even as the pandemic led to a slump in the establishment’s value-added products such as butter and ghee. The 1980-founded Milma’s annual turnover stood at Rs 3,300 crore in 2019-20, thanks to its cooperative societies that currently total 3,500, he added.
Milma is launching a nation-wide campaign for Dr Kurien to be bestowed with the Bharat Ratna, the country’s biggest civilian honour. One lakh dairy farmers will send signed post cards with a request to the Prime Minister. Also, a top Milma delegation will meet members of both houses of Parliament to further the campaign, Balan Master said.
Nirmala Kurien, recalling the contributions of her father to India’s dairying, said Dr Kurien envisioned an inclusive economy when he launched the milk movement in 1970s at Anand in Gujarat. He weeded out middlemen from the system, and ensured that the dairy farmer got the income directly from the sale of milk through the cooperatives.
Dr Kurien, by guarding the dairy farmers against the erratic markets and unscrupulous bosses, ensured that the gap between the haves and the have-nots shrank even as the economy flourished, she said in her live video appearance from Chennai.
A postal cover matching the occasion was released after a virtual speech by Dr M R Raveendranath, Vice-Chancellor of Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.