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Sharp rise in coop unions' milk procurement

T. Ramakrishnan
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Dharmapuri union has seen nearly 50 per cent growth rate

The cooperative dairy sector in the State is on an upward trajectory, at least in terms of milk procurement.

A year ago, the average milk procurement by district cooperative milk producers’ union was about 21.4 lakh litres a day. Today, it is hovering around 26 lakh litres. Those managing the sector are aiming at 30 lakh litres a day.

The overall figure does not tell the story fully. Some district unions have registered a growth rate almost twice the State’s average growth figure of 23 per cent.

Take the case of the Dharmapuri union, which covers Krishnagiri revenue district. This union, encompassing the extremely backward district of Dharmapuri, has witnessed nearly 50 per cent growth rate. Likewise, the union covering Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts, Chennai’s neighbour, has posted a growth rate of 45 per cent.

The growth rate of Madurai and Villupuram unions is in the range of 33 per cent to 37 per cent. An interesting feature of the high growth-rate picture is that top performing district unions – Dharmapuri, Kancheepuram-Tiruvallur and Villupuram – are geographically contiguous.

Analysing the overall picture, Dairy Development Minister V. Moorthy says that one of the early decisions of the AIADMK government, which assumed office in May 2011, was to clear dues to milk producers.

“As per Chief Minister’s [Jayalalithaa] direction, a sum of Rs. 115.85 crore was given as an interest-free ways and means advance and it was released in three instalments over four months,” he recalls.

This move has enabled regaining the confidence of the producers who supplied milk to private milk firms during the previous DMK regime, he says.

As of now, there are no dues to milk producers. The payment is made at the end of every week.

The present government’s decisions of providing incentive to high-performing district unions and distributing free milch cows in milk-deficient regions of the State are the other contributory factors, he adds.

Sources say that of 1,020 new milk producers unions formed in the last one year, nearly one third of them – 296 – was in the four districts of Villupuram (116), Dharmapuri (78), Kancheepuram (77) and Madurai (25). In the last two years, the government allocated Rs. 20 crore annually for the State fodder scheme, which also facilitated the increased milk procurement. The free milch cows programme has ensured the supply of at least 50,000 litres a day.

Closer monitoring of the activities of the cooperative dairy sector and deployment of right persons has also led to enhanced milk availability.

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