Faced with a sharp rise in the prices of cattle fodder, dairy farmers in the State have appealed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to provide incentive for milk producers on the lines of a scheme implemented in Karnataka.

In Tamil Nadu, dairy farmers were faced with a heavy rise in cost of production as fodder prices had increased 50 to 100 per cent consequent to the severe drought earlier this year.

“The cost of paddy straw and maize (sola thattai) has gone up by 100 per cent. The price of neem cake and other cattle feed have increased drastically. This has resulted in a 50 per cent increase in the production cost for dairy farmers,” said K.A. Sengottuvel, president, Tamil Nadu Milk Producers’ Welfare Association.

The introduction of the incentive scheme, at Rs.4 a litre, has contributed to a sharp rise in milk production in Karnataka. Milk production in the State has gone up to 64 lakh litres a day after the introduction of the incentive scheme.

Rather than increasing the procurement price of milk, the association suggested that the Tamil Nadu government too can follow the Karnataka model. “We request the State government to provide an incentive of Rs. 5 a litre for cow’s milk and Rs. 10 a litre for buffalo milk,” Mr. Sengottuvel said after participating in a meeting of the association office-bearers from Tiruchi and neighbouring districts here on Saturday.

The association was seeking the incentive over and above the existing procurement price of Rs. 20 a litre for cow’s milk and Rs. 26 a litre for buffalo milk offered by the government.

The State government’s vision of ushering in a second white revolution by achieving a production of 1 crore litres of milk production a day could be achieved through the introduction of an incentive scheme.

Dairy farmers should be supplied cattle feed at Rs. 10 a kg, he said.

The association suggests supply of milk and milk products to students under the noon meal scheme.

The introduction of the incentive in Karnataka has resulted in many private dairies coming to Tamil Nadu looking to procure milk from here.

“Unless milk producers supplying to cooperative societies are offered incentives, it will be difficult to protect the interests of the societies,” said N. Ganesan, State Joint Secretary of the association.

The 24,000 employees in the 9,000 milk producers cooperative societies in the State should be offered better pay, bonus, and incentive.

The margin money, which milk societies were allowed to deduct from the procurement price to meet administrative expenses such as rent and stationery, should be increased from the existing 5 per cent, said Mr. Sengottuvel.

He appealed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to convene a meeting with the office-bearers of the association to discuss the issues.