Stringent norms, lack of coordination bog down farm entrepreneurs

Palakkad: Lack of coordination among various departments in the animal husbandry sector and stringent norms – regarding cow shed onwards – have been discouraging potential entrepreneurs.

Though the farm building construction norms have been amended, the rules pertaining to licensing in the Livestock – granting of licenses to farms – 2012 – have not yet been changed.

According to the construction norms revised in 2020, the panchayat’s approval is not necessary to construct corrals and coops for up to 20 heads of cattle, 50 goats and 1,000 chickens. However, the local body’s license is required to rear five cows, five pigs, 20 goats, 25 rabbits or 100 chickens.

Now, here is the catch. To apply for a license, the building – manger or coop – should have a number. Hence, the benefits of the revised construction norms are not available for the entrepreneur.

Additionally, there is a mismatch between the licensing norms and the recommendations of the Kerala Veterinary University on the space required for each species. The scientific recommendation is 30 square feet for rearing 15 chickens, the licensing norm mandates one cent of land.

The Kerala Panchayat Raj Act has several provisions allowing the health department, local bodies and police to register case against animal keepers and order the closure of farms. Several expats, forced to return home due to COVID-19, who tried to start a farm are in a crisis due to the strict norms.

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