The cooperation between Kerala and Switzerland for the growth of the dairy sector led to the emergence of a successful national and international model to support the formation of important policies and strengthen the institutional system, Ralf Heckner, Ambassador of Switzerland to India, has said.
He was speaking after opening the 35th anniversary of Indo-Swiss cooperation for supporting the Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Milma) at Swapnanagari in Kozhikode on Saturday.
Mr. Heckner, who also laid the foundation stone for the hi-tech head office building of Milma, said the development cooperation worked well in the State as it could address the actual needs. “Investment made in strengthening the institutional system like Milma was found supporting the concept of development through cooperation,” he said.
Lauding the impressive performance by Milma in production and marketing activities during the peak time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior Swiss diplomat said that Kerala proved its mettle in the sector by improving sales without any increase in prices. “The sector managed to cater to about 10 lakh farmers in the dairy sector by overcoming the challenges,” he said.
Mr. Heckner, who recalled the contributions of 11 former Swiss ambassadors to India for the realisation of the dairy mission, said the activities undertaken in the field could even help the formation of India’s National Livestock Policy. “The Kerala model and its achievements had been reflected in the formation of similar dairy development projects in countries like Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, making it truly an international affair,” he said.
Delivering the presidential address, Minister for Dairy Development and Animal Husbandry J. Chinchurani said innovative schemes such as mobile ambulance service and telemedicine for supporting dairy farmers in Kerala were on the cards. “The shipping of cattle feed using the railway network from other States will be a reality soon with the final nod of the Union Ministry of Railways. It will be launched as Kisan Rail,” she added.
Ms. Chinchurani said 29 ambulances for coordinating emergency veterinary services would be launched soon.
Milma Managing Director Patil Suyog Subhash Rao and Chairman K.S. Mani were present. MLAs Thottathil Ravendran and P.T.A. Rahim distributed various excellence awards. P.T. Gopala Kurup, former chairman of Milma, was honoured at the event.