R. Sairam

2,000 milch cattle to be supplied to Madurai and Theni

MADURAI: The Madurai Aavin Union is facing a tough summer season this year with milk procurement level declining significantly during the past three months. The problem had been compounded by increasing demand levels.

While the average milk procurement was 2.12 lakh litres a day in December, it fell to 2.02 lakh litres in January and 1.90 lakh litres in February, official sources told The Hindu here on Wednesday.

Sales figures, however, have increased from last year's levels with February seeing an average sale of 1.95 lakh litres a day compared to 1.81 lakh litres in the same month last year.

These supply side constraints have resulted in Madurai Aavin not taking up some supply orders to festivals or marriages. Tea stalls and eateries have also been complaining of a growing scarcity of Aavin milk.

While average milk sales level is 1.98 lakh litres a day in March so far, procurement is standing at around 1.80 lakh litres a day. The deficit is being bridged by buying additional quantities from nearby unions. While Dindigul Union had a procurement of 40,000 litres a day, its sales requirement was only 12,000 litres and 9,000 litres was being purchased daily since March 5, officials said. To tide over the shortage, Aavin officials are expediting the delivery of milch cattle under ‘Integrated Dairy Farm for Women Self-Help Groups' project.

A Rs. 53.60-crore State government project to augment milk production through integrated, forward and backward linkages, it aims to increase the number of cattle heads in Tamil Nadu. Madurai District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union, which also includes Theni district, is one among the three chosen in the State and would be getting 2,500 bovines.

Officials said that three villages had already got 50 cattle each with the fourth batch having arrived from Kerala on Wednesday. A total of 2,000 cattle heads would arrive in a month thereby increasing production by 20,000 litres a day.

Further, Aavin officials said that they had stepped up early morning visits to dairies to prevent diversion of milk. The Madurai Aavin had also stocked 30 tonnes of butter and 12 tonnes of ghee.