Milma to push paddy cultivation

Initiative under Subhiksha Keralam to achieve self-sufficiency in food production

The Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union has decided to encourage paddy cultivation in a big way, as it joins the Subhiksha Keralam programme to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.

To mark the launch of efforts to take over fallow land and bring it under rice cultivation, the Poothrikka Primary Cooperative Milk Producers Union has taken up cultivation of 2.5 acres of paddy field at the Vallikkatuthazham paddy collective, said John Theruvath, chairman of the Ernakulam region.

He said that more primary milk cooperatives were interested in taking up rice cultivation to augment income and to ensure that they have something to fall back on, as the dairy sector went through ups and downs during the pandemic. He added that the Milma union would include a substantial allocation in its annual budget to encourage rice cultivation by primary cooperatives.

M. Prabhakaran, president of the primary milk cooperative at Poothrikka, was among those who were present when the 2.5-acre field was sown.

Mr. John said the Ernakulam regional cooperative, spread over Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Idukki districts, had around 930 primary cooperatives, and that encouraging cooperatives would help in bringing substantial areas now lying fallow under rice and vegetable cultivation.

Meanwhile, the cooperative is implementing an insurance scheme in collaboration with Oriental Insurance Company for dairy farmers. The insurance is for protection of farmers afflicted by the pandemic. The ‘Covid Rakshak’ insurance scheme is for those aged between 18 and 65 years and provides a coverage ranging between ₹50,000 and ₹2.5 lakh in case a dairy farmer is down with infection for three days.

Milk procurement by the regional cooperative has kept steady after Onam. The daily procurement is to the tune of 3.35 lakh per day in the current week, and sales have touched 3.55 lakh litres per day, Mr. John added.

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