EU supports exposure visit to Kerala for representatives of Farmers’ Group and Cooperative

Participation in VAIGA at Trissur

A team consisting of 15 (6 female, 9 male) representatives of Farmers’ Group (FGs) and Cooperatives and six officials (1 female, 5 male) of Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) are currently undergoing a six-day institutional and exposure visit in Kerala, India for the duration of 6 days (4th to 9th January, 2020). The visit was funded by European Union Technical Cooperation project (EU-TCP) in support of the RNR sector. The tour is being coordinated by the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperative (DAMC) and organized by the Vegetable and Fruits Promotion Council, Kerala (VFPCK). The exposure visit is being coordinated with the objective to enhance the capacity of FGs and Coops in field of RNR production, value addition and marketing. The tour provided an opportunity for participants to understand efficient and cost effective production and processing technologies being implemented in India.

The team participated in VAIGA (Value Addition and Income Generation of Agriculture) 2020 on 4th January 2020. This is the national platform to showcase value addition and processing technologies in India. More than 500 agriculture based enterprises and relevant offices of ICAR (India Centre for Agriculture Research) participated in the technology fair. The trade fair is coordinated by VFPCK at Trissur. The fair gave an opportunity to see and understand the product diversification, value addition and post-harvest technologies. Some of these technologies, more particularly cassava snack processing and banana chips processing.

Visit to Muvatipura vegetable seedling production plant

The team visited the vegetable seedling production centre of VFPCK at Muvatipura. The hi-tech vegetable seedling production plant was established in December 2017 and has annual total capacity to produce 20 M seedlings. The plant aims to provide quality planting materials to enhance the production in farmers’ field. As of now, plant produces 8 to 10 hundred thousand of seedlings which are being supplied to all over Kerala. Plant sells seedlings at Rs 2.5 per seedling and their cost of production is Rs 0.9 per seedling.

They also visited Mazhuvanoor market place. The visit is aimed to get first hand information on the marketing strategy of being practiced by Mazhuvanoor marketing association. The marketing is done through auctioning with traders within and outside participating in the auction. The association is being governed by the group of master marketing farmers. Farmers are provided sales promotion of Rs. 1 per every kilogram of vegetables sold through auction. There are 21 Self Help Groups (SHGs) bringing vegetables and fruits for auctioning in the auction yard. Every farmer is charge 5% to total sale as commission and fees. However, at the end of the year after deducting operational cost surplus is given back members as an annual bonus to farmers.

The farm was established in 1963 in collaboration with Swiss Government, under Kerala Livestock Development Board (KLDB). However, this particular farm was established in 2012 with the main objective to produce quality bulls for semen production. At present farm have 90 milking cows and 25 dry cows in 500 acres of pasture land. This government owned farm supplies semen to all over Kerala at Rs. 55 per dose with liquid nitrogen. Farm also provides semen to Tamil Nadu and other nearby states at Rs. 14 to 17 per dose in bulk. Annually farm produces 3 M doses of semen while their annual demand is just 1.6 M to 1.8 M doses.

Besides semen production KLDB also provides training to farmers, members of cooperatives and to livestock officials outside Kerala and India. Trainings include AI, herd management, breeding and feed and fodder.

The team will be back to Bhutan by 10th January, 2020 and expected to apply some of the important learning in their groups and cooperatives in their respective places.

Submitted by the Dawa Dakpa, (Team leader of the visit), Complied and edited by Project Management, EU-TCP, MoAF

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