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Aavin milk a success story thanks to free cow scheme

D J Walter Scott
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Federation to achieve production of 50,000 litres a day

White revolution:Women at the milk producers’ society at Veeraneri village in Sivaganga district.— Photo: L. Balachandar
White revolution:Women at the milk producers’ society at Veeraneri village in Sivaganga district.— Photo: L. Balachandar

The Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation (Aavin) is set to achieve 50,000 litres of milk production a day in Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts, thanks to the government’s flagship free milch cows distribution scheme.

The two districts, which have been producing an average of 29,000 litres of milk a year since 2001, witnessed a spurt in production in 2012-13 after the government unveiled the scheme in 2011-12.

“Last year, we achieved a production of 43,854 litres a day and this year we will achieve a record production of 50,000 litres as the scheme has substantially enhanced milk production in the rural areas,”

Mr. N. Christopher, General Manager, Aavin, Karaikudi said. “Aavin began this year with a production of 43,038 litres in April and we will achieve the 50,000 litre mark by June 15,” Mr Christopher told The Hindu at Veeraneri, a remote village in Sivaganga district, where a mass health camp was organised for the milch cows.

Rural folk were given free ownership of exotic, high- yielding breed cows worth Rs 30,000 each under the scheme. They were now showing interest in owning a second cow through bank loans with a subsidy of Rs 3,000, he said.

The scheme would usher in a “white revolution” in the two drought-prone districts as both Sivaganga Collector V. Rajaraman and Ramanathapuram Collector K. Nanthakumar were willing to help Aavin in its endeavour to step up the milk production and help the villagers improve their socio-economic status.

Women folk, who once toiled in the field for a daily wage of Rs 100 to Rs 120, were now proud owners of cows, lining up at Veeraneri village to supply milk to the Milk Producers’ Societies. A total of 1,498 women in Sivaganga and 1,340 in Ramanathapuram have received the cows, around 1,200 of which were pregnant and ready for second calving, he added.

Mr Christopher said the milk processing unit in Karaikudi had been built with a 50,000- litre capacity. However, it has never operated to full capacity in the last 20 years. For the first time now, it has started operating at optimal capacity, thanks to the increased milk production.

To cope with the additional milk production, six additional Bulk Milk Coolers (BMC) centres are being set up in Sivaganga and four in Ramanathapuram, each at a cost of Rs 30 lakh.

Besides procuring milk, Aavin has been providing veterinary services, extending Artificial Insemination (AI) at the door steps, supplying fodder at subsidised rates and creating awareness among the farmers.

Aavin was also making available, fodder at subsidised rates and encourage farmers to raise fodder by distributing seedlings.But fodder for the cows remained a major problem.

For M. Lalitha (38) buying fodder was the major concern in the absence of grazing fields in Veeraneri. She had already spent more than Rs 3,000 for buying fodder such as pellets (100 kgs), two bags of bran (each 50 kgs) groundnut cake (10 kgs) and grass (four bundles a day).

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