Animal Husbandry Minister inspects progress of work at Kulathupuzha farm

The country's first hi-tech dairy farm in the government sector is coming up at Kulathupuzha, near here. The State government is planning to enter the milk production and distribution sector by opening such hi-tech dairy farms.

After inspecting the progress of the work on the farm on Tuesday, Food and Animal Husbandry Minister C. Divakaran, told presspersons that he was hopeful that Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan would be able to commission the farm in two to three weeks.

Mr. Divakaran said the policy of the government was that the State should achieve self-sufficiency in milk production by the end of its term. Milk production in the State is not up to the expectations. The hi-tech dairy projects is expected to help achieve self-sufficiency in milk production.

Two more hi-tech dairy farms are coming up at Kolahalamed and Mattupetti in Idukki district. The Kulathupuzha farm is coming up at a cost of Rs.8 crore and the Kolahalamed farm at Rs.11.5 crore. The latter is expected to be commissioned in February.

The Kulathupuzha farm is funded under the Union government's National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding. State-of-the-art technology will be used here. Milking cows to be reared at the farm will mainly be the Holstein-Friesian breed having Irish origins.

Kerala Livestock Development Board managing director Ani S. Das said the farm would house around 230 cows and each would carry a transponder on the neck. There will be programmable feeders. There will be an in-house system for cooling the animals besides automatic scratching machines. Cleaning of the cowshed will be done automatically six times a day. Milking will be done by 12 automatic milking parlours at a time. From the parlour it directly goes to chilling tanks and from there for packing.

The government intends to market the milk from the farm as a branded item. Mr. Divakaran said a yield of about 5,000 litres of milk a day was expected from the farm. Female calves will be distributed to farmers around the area at a reasonable price. This will enable satellite dairy units to come up around the hi-tech farm, he said.