Kerala, for the time being, will stick to the prices that were revised a year ago, say dairy sector representatives.
Will Kerala dairies show the herd instinct and follow the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation in hiking milk prices?
Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, credited as the mother of dairy movement in the country and which markets brand Amul, has hiked milk prices by Rs.2 per litre. It might set the tone for a hike in milk prices across cooperative dairies in the country.
But Kerala, for the time being, will stick to the prices that were revised a year ago, according to dairy sector representatives.
Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers Union, one of the three regions of Milma, had no plans to hike milk prices now, said its chairman P.A. Balan Master.
The Ernakulam region has a history of being the flag-bearer in hiking prices, which is followed by rest of the regions. It had led to legal battles between the cooperative body and the government which wants to avoid chain reaction that a hike in milk price could set off.
The steep rise in food inflation has impacted farming sector, particularly dairies. Increased price of fodder dented the profit margin of farmers.
Input costs are higher in Kerala compared to other States. The cattle feed prices in Kerala have gone up by Rs.100-150 per 50 kg. “That is why we demand a higher subsidy on fodder,” said Mr. Balan.
The government is providing subsidy of Re.1 per kg of cattle feed now. Milma has also sought a production incentive of Rs. 4 per litre of milk to the farmer as has been provided in Karnataka, according to him.
Though the hike in prices by Gujarat Cooperative will not affect Kerala at once, Milma is facing a challenge from the hike in prices implemented by the Karnataka Milk Federation a few months ago. Milma meets part of its daily demands by trucking in milk from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Any further increase in the prices in the neighbouring States might force Kerala dairy sector too to follow suit.
“We can’t give a categorical assurance that the prices will not be increased in future,” the chairman said.