FMD, Sabarimala season cited as reasons for dip in milk procurement

Even as reports suggest a fall in milk procurement, there is a severe shortage of butter and other products in Aavin, Madurai, according to reliable sources.

Though several factors are attributed to the dip in procurement, officials cite foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) that affected cattle in the region as the prime reason.

Moreover, many milk producers in places such as Usilampatti and Theni district are supplying the produce to vendors and merchants from Kerala, who procure milk in large quantities and take it to Sabarimala.

“In view of the large turnout of devotees at the Ayyappa shrine, milk is in great demand in the entire region,” milk producers said, adding the situation would continue till January end or mid-February next.

According to sources, the average milk procurement recorded by Aavin from various milk producers across the State was anywhere between 20 lakh and 23 lakh litres per day.

A month or two ago, the procurement was about 25 lakh litres per day or even higher, but it slipped to 22 lakh in the recent weeks, the sources said.

In cities like Madurai, Tiruchi and Salem, and in a few southern districts, the procurement was well below its normal level. In Madurai, Aavin’s milk procurement had dipped by 25 to 30 per cent, which resulted in a shortage of butter.

The procurement of milk was around 1.80 lakh litres per day. Only in Coimbatore Aavin, butter was available, while conversion had been stopped in other major centres, they noted.

Many depot salesmen in Madurai said with the Aavin butter and ghee not available, there was a massive influx of Amul products from Gujarat to various outlets. The Aavin ghee, which is sold in 200 gm, 500 gm, one litre and five litre containers are much sought after by the people. “When the officials claimed that there was only a marginal dip in milk procurement, the reasons for suspending production of butter and ghee was baffling,” the salesmen said.