THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Dairy Development Board, Milma, Farm Information Bureau and Milk Co-operative Societies are jointly organising a district dairy farmers get-together at Kanakakkunnu.
This two- day programme which began on Tuesday, has various activities like drawing competition, milk drinking competition and ice-cream eating competition. Delegates from various co-operative societies are attending the programme and sharing their insights on dairy farming and the new trends in the field.
“There are 420 co-operative societies in this district and at least five members from each society are expected to be attending this programme,” said Baiju K Alex, Deputy Director, Dairy Development, Pattom.
“Dairy farming in Kerala is facing many problems. For the past few years we have been concentrating only on exotic breeds for their productivity which has resulted in the extinction of local breeds like Vechur cows and other dwarf breeds. Kerala is rated to be the state with the highest rate of cross bred cows in India,” he adds.
The first day of the Dairy Meet had interesting competitions relating to dairy farming for children under sixteen. The one-and-a-half hour drawing competition was extempore with themes based on dairy farming. Students of classes one to four had to draw the picture of a grazing cow, classes five to seven had to draw a milking the cow and the third category of students till grade ten were asked to draw the picture of a modern dairy farm.
Children who reside within the city and in the outskirts had portrayed their imagination in different ways.
“We thought of conducting such a competition so we could understand the concept that children have today of activities like dairy farming. Most of the children must have lived all their life in cities, unaware of the life in villages. They would have only seen milk as an item sold in plastic packets,” said Baiju.
Following this, there was a competitive feast for the ice cream lovers. It was a sight to see the children stuffing their mouth with big scoops of ice cream. For parents who were tired of forcing their children to have milk, were relieved for a day as the kids gulped down glasses of milk to win the milk drinking competition.
The dairy farmers meet will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at Kanakakunnu on April 25. There will be seminars and talks on dairy farming plans for the coming years, which would be addressed by Isaac K Thayyil, Deputy Director, Dairy Development Department.
New trends and apparatuses used in dairy will be discussed by R Vijayan, Professor, Agricultural University. He will talk about milking machines, automatic water bowls and rubber mats for cushioning the cow sheds.
“In the olden days cows used to be set free for grazing in open fields. But now they are tied up. They can’t possibly ask for water when they are thirsty. So this bowl can be kept next to them which will help the cows quench their thirst as when they require,” says Baiju.
There will also be a talk will be about the integral role to be played by banks in dairy farming sector. The automatic milk collection station will be on display for the public.
“This year, the facility will be made available for 110 societies within the city,” said Baiju. The programme will conclude with the presentation of awards to dairy farmers who have made remarkable achievements in the field.