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Project to strengthen milk societies

Staff Correspondent

Defunct societies will also be revived

  • Of the 64 milk societies, only 15 are functioning
  • The district requires over 1.20 lakh litres of milk a day
  • Kudige Dairy Farm will be upgraded
  • The number of poultries has come down to 37 from 76
  • New scheme to popularise poultry

    MADIKERI: The Kodagu Zilla Panchayat, through the Department of Animal Husbandry, has embarked upon a vital project to strengthen the milk producing cooperative society (MPCS) units, apart from reviving some of the defunct units in the district.

    There are 15 such societies, all in Somwarpet taluk, producing 2,100 litres of milk on an average every day. Milk is supplied to the Hassan Milk Cooperative Union. These units would be strengthened to produce more milk, the Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry, M.T. Manjunath, told The Hindu on Friday.

    There were 64 milk societies in the district five years ago. The units in Somwarpet taluk had the advantage of being in proximity to the Karnataka Milk Federation located in Hassan, unlike Madikeri or Virajpet taluk.

    As per an estimate, Kodagu produces 81,000 litres of milk every day, which is consumed within the district itself. Besides, 40,000 litres of milk is supplied from outside the district. This includes the Nandini brand milk supplied from Hassan and another brand from Shimoga. This means that Kodagu's demand for milk each day is over 1.20 lakh litres. There is scope for producing the 40,000 litres of milk in Kodagu, Dr. Manjunath said.

    The panchayat Chief Executive Officer, K. Sundar Naik, too has evinced keen interest in strengthening and revival of the units.

    Mismanagement of the milk societies and shortage of cows and buffalos are some of the reasons for the closure of many units. Though many such units are under loss, they could now be revived as they had their share capital in the Hassan Milk Union, which could be utilised for their revival. However, the liquidated units would have to re-structured.

    The panchayat has convened a meeting at Somwarpet on September 15 to discuss the ways and means to infuse life into such units, Dr. Manjunath said. Measures needed to revive the defunct societies, steps required to strengthen the existing 15 units, buying a "bulk milk cooler" unit to store milk collected from the societies at Kudige, restructuring of the defunct boards of directors, were some of the issues that are likely to be discussed at the meeting, he said.

    Milk gathered by the 15 societies is not supplied to the Hassan unit. Milk collected would have to be stored in a cooler before it is pasteurised and packed the next day. The plan to upgrade the Kudige Dairy Farm, thanks to the intervention of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), would sufficiently boost milk production in Kodagu. If a milk society is to survive, it should be able to produce and supply at least 250 litres of milk a day, he said.

    Venture capital

    The venture capital fund scheme of the Union Government that is now in force — from 2005 to 2007 — has come as a boon to the farmers intending to take up mini dairy farm and poultry schemes, Dr. Manjunath said.

    Loans for starting mini dairy farms would be given under various heads. Under the poultry wing, a farmer taking up poultry breeding would be eligible for a maximum loan of Rs. 30 lakhs. Self-help groups, particularly women members, are likely to be roped in under the scheme in the coming days, Dr. Manjunath said. This should come as good news to the poultry farmers in Kodagu as the number of poultries in the district has come down from 76 to 37 now.

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