As part of the efforts to check the spread of foot-and-mouth disease found in cows and other cattle across the state, the State Government on Wednesday banned the import of cattle from other states for an indefinite period.
Minister for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry K P Mohanan said a meeting of top officials of the Animal Husbandry Department evaluated the situation prevailing in South India and took the decision to initiate steps to check the spread of the disease on a war-footing. Check-posts will be closed and officials of various departments concerned will be deployed to conduct inspection.
District collectors, RTOs and other authorities will be asked to conduct strict checking to prevent bringing cattle illegally through other routes from across the border. There will be ban on meat products also for the period, he said. As of now, the decision is to monitor the situation for 10 days, the Minister said. Mohanan said that there was no ban on poultry for the time being. He, however, said that there would be no ban on milk and diary products. The Minister said that there was concern over the failure of vaccine for preventing the disease.
The Animal Husbandry Department will conduct examination in this regard, he said. He said that in the last three months, there has been a decrease of 63 lakh litres in milk production. He said 95 per cent of the head of cattle in Kerala belonged to the hybrid breed which give 9 litres of milk on an average.
The disease which broke out since August this year has resulted in huge loss to the dairy farmers. The dairy sector recorded a fall in production of 6,35,3200 litres worth Rs 17.80 crore. So far, 1363 head of cattle have been lost due to the disease. Of this, around 357 are cows and 470 are calves. 31 goats and 120 pigs have reportedly died owing to the disease, the Minister said.
The minister said the disease has been reported from all 14 districts of the state. But the most affected are Kollam and Palakkad districts.
It is believed that the disease has spread through cattle brought from other states. While most of the cows died in Kollam district, most number of infected cattle are in Palakkad. There is a climb in the number of infected cows in Thrissur district. Cases of disease have been reported from other districts also.
The state will be divided into four zones under the supervision of additional directors. Task forces have been constituted in all districts to provide emergency treatment to the head of cattle infected with disease. For sensitising the farmers, workshops and seminars will be conducted.
The Agriculture Minister said that the government would provide Rs 20,000 each to the farmers whose head of cattle have been perished due to the foot-and-mouth disease as assistance.
‘insurance for cattle soon’
Agriculture Minister K P Mohanan said efforts are made to bring all head of cattle under insurance cover. For a cow, an insurance cover of `10,000 will be provided on an annual premium of `160. Of this, `80 will be borne by the state and the rest has to be paid by the owner, he said.