The formalities for establishing a veterinary university in the State are likely to be completed before Onam (August 22-25), Minister for Animal Husbandry C. Divakaran has said.

He was addressing a meeting here on Tuesday to lay the foundation stone for Kerala Agricultural University's (KAU) Advanced Centre for Dairy and Food Technology.

“A special officer will be appointed to carry out the formalities. Apprehensions over the setting up of the university are baseless. The KAU and the veterinary university should work in tandem. Both should grow simultaneously. The KAU will be considered a ‘mother university'. A consortium of universities and agencies in agriculture should be formed for comprehensive development of the sector,” he said.

Deal with France

The Minister said the State government had signed a draft agreement with the French government for rearing Montbeliarde cattle, a red-and-white pied breed from the Montbeliard region of France that had high milk yield.

“Semen and embryos of the cattle will be imported. The State will seek Central clearance for import of animals. The draft agreement has been submitted to the Chief Minister, who in turn will forward it to the Centre,” he stated.

He observed that Milma and the Dairy Development Department were not assuming responsibility for shortage in milk production. “Demand for milk is growing by the day and it is being brought from Sholapur. Milma cannot meet the huge demand for ice-cream and for ghee during the Sabarimala season. Only coordinated activities by various agencies can boost milk production,” he noted.

“What is your contribution to solving food shortage?” He asked teachers, students and officials of the KAU. He said that imports accounted for 85 per cent of Kerala's food needs. “Students and teachers should know that education in agriculture does not end in the classroom. The real education is in agricultural fields and dairy farms,” he added.

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