State government Kerala Feeds Ltd is looking to meet the rising demand for cattle feed with a number of projects in the undertaking. At an estimated cost of more than Rs. 125 crore (USD$22 million) the company plan to setup a cattle feed plant with a capacity of 300 tonnes per day, a 60 tonnes per day goat feed plant at Chemmanchery in Kozhikode, and a 500 tonnes per day plant at Arikkuzha near Thodupuzha, along with a new 'densified fodder block' factory in Kuttanad.
Talking about the feed mill currently under construction, Kerala Feeds Assistant General Manager (Projects), M P John said "The Kerala Feeds Ltd plant at Chemmanchery is expected to be commissioned by November this year. Built on a 10-acre land, the total estimated cost of the plant is '52 crore, which is likely to increase slightly. The tender procedures for the plant at Thodupuzha, which will be set up at an estimated cost of '66.60 crore, has been completed. The work on this project has begun, and is expected to completed by November 2015."
Speaking of the current demand and supply for feed, John said the latest statistics showed that the state has approximately (1,700,000) 17 lakh cattle .
At the moment the majority of farmers feed their cattle using traditional methods, with the minimum avg. consumption approximately 6,000 tonne a day.
Presently the combined production capacity of Kerala Feeds, Kerala Solvent Extractions and Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation is around 2,500 tonnes per day. This number if much lower than the demand, meaning there is great need for more cattle plants in the region.
Talking about the densified fodder block factory of Kerala Feeds Ltd, which has just recently opened, John said that demand for the blocks produced at the facility was increasing every day. The unit produces densified blocks, which is made by cutting hay and mixing it with cattle feed. Each block is produced by mixing 7 kg of hay with 7 kg of cattle feed.
"Each block is reasonably priced at '22 per kg, which is supplied mainly to the government-owned farms in various parts of the state. But, we are getting enquiries from private dealers also," he added.
The Kerala Feeds Ltd also plans to launch a fodder block facility in Kuttanad. Since the agency is not in a position to acquire land at present, steps will be initiated after ensuring the availability of land.