The dairy sector should be excluded from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which was formed by 16 countries, said K Raju, minister of Forests, Wildlife Protection, Animal husbandry, Dairy Development,
The minister was inaugurating the 46th Indian Dairy Industry Association Conference at Adlux International Convention Centre, Karukutty, Angamaly, on Thursday. The minister said that RCEP will adversely affect the dairy farmers in Kerala.
The minister said New Zealand and Australia which as entered into the agreement have made record achievement in the production of milk. This agreement will result in cheap dairy products being exported from these countries, which badly affect the dairy farmers in our country.
As the production cost is much higher in India, the demand for cheap dairy products will increase. The minister said that the small scale dairy farmers in Kerala will not be able to compete with the developed countries like New Zealand and Australia.
The system in India is, the money from the dairy markets will directly reach the farmers. It will be a great disaster of the primary producers of milk if the dairy sector is opened for international competition, he said.
The Minister said that the Union Government should take initiative to make necessary changes in the pact before signing the agreement. He also said that the government should discuss the issue with those in the dairy sector.
When compared to other States, the production cost of dairy products are much higher in Kerala. As the farmers are depending on other States for dairy feeds, the cost is increasing for the production of milk.
However, with the government was able to control the production cost with the interference of the Dairy Development Cooperative Societies. Kerala Government is on the effort to ensure self sufficiency in milk production with various projects and studies.
The economic survey of 2017-18 says that the growth rate of agriculture related sector has decreased from 4.1 per cent to 2.1 per cent. Union Government should take the initiative for increase the growth rate of milk production, the minister said.
Dr Vargheese Kurien award for the year 2017 was presented to P Gopala Kurup, Chairman, Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Milma) by the Minister. Thiruvananthapuram native PB Jini who was selected as Dairy Women of th Year was also presented with the award. Rubu Thakoor, Neethu Yadav, Prachi Abhai Patel was also presented with the awards.
Indian Dairy Association patronship award was presented to R G Chandramohan, R M Acharya and Dr Ratan Sagar.
IDA president Dr G S Rajoria presided over the function. South India president C P Charles, National Dairy Development Board executive director Samkranth Chowdari, National Dairy Development executive director Dr RRB Singh, Animal Husbandry secretary Anil Xavier, Indian Dairy Association secretary Dr Bandala Sreenivas and Dairy Conference secretary general Dr P I Geevarghese participated. Minister K Raju inaugurated the exhibition in connection with the conference.