A major project will be setting up of tetrapack manufacturing unit

For the first time in the history of Aavin (Tamil Nadu Milk Producers' Co-operative Federation), substantial funds have been sanctioned for its infrastructural improvement by the State-level sanctioning committee.

According to highly placed sources, the committee headed by the Chief Secretary has sanctioned Rs.69 crore for the first phase under the National Agricultural Development Programme (NADP) to be implemented this fiscal.

A major project that will be taken up will be the setting up of a unit to manufacture tetrapack or ‘flexi' pack at Rs.38.21 crore.

This will be on the lines of the one in Salem District Milk Producers' Union. Called ‘aseptic packaging', this will help keep the milk in normal temperature for a minimum of three months, the sources explained.

In a bid to bolster the grass roots milk structure, 6,000 dairy units will be formed with the existing members of the milk producers' societies in 12 districts with total outlay of Rs.3.1 crore. Each unit will have three to four members.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will be appointed under the NADP for co-ordination.

Each district will have 10 social workers interacting with the milk producers, arranging bank loans and organising all services required by them.

The districts chosen are those where the grass roots-level services are considered “not up to the mark”.

As many as 10 bulk milk coolers will be purchased at a total cost of Rs.2.9 crore. Already, Aavin has 184 such coolers.

“We want to maintain the cold chain — from producer till it reaches the consumer,” say the sources.

“Besides, we are planning to rejuvenate one of the three cattle feed units of Aavin. While the Erode unit is producing 2,000 tonnes of concentrated feed (both mash and pellets) as against its installed capacity of 2,500 tonnes, the units at Madhavaram and Kappalur are not in working condition. We are yet to take a call on which unit should be rejuvenated as we are getting Rs.10.63 crore for the purpose now.”

The sources admit that the cost of feed has been the major grouse of milk producers as the federation has been unable to supply the required quantity even for the members of the milk societies.

In order to supplement the Erode production, “we have been purchasing, through TANFED, about 2,000 tonnes of feed every month. During May it rose to 2,200 tonnes. By June we hope to raise our supply to milk producers to 6,000 tonnes.”

They say the feed produced by the Erode plant is sold at Rs.10.60 per kg and feed bought through TANFED at Rs.11.10, far lower than the market price.

“As the flush season has begun we have touched 25 lakh litres of procurement a day. We expect to procure more. As four per cent of four lakh litres of milk is converted into butter every day — 16 tonnes a day — we plan to purchase deep freezers for which Rs.6.5 crore has been sanctioned.” Besides, Rs.7.71 crore will go for veterinary services.

The sources express the hope that “some more funds” will be allotted to improve the infrastructure as the State is planning to trigger a White Revolution.

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