Dairy farmers have demanded a hike in milk price in the midst of rising production cost, and the government has convened a meeting of farmers and farmers’ representatives in Thiruvananthapuram on May 10. Farmers have also scheduled a protest march to the State Secretariat on May 12 to highlight their woes.
The Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union (ERCMPU) had earlier demanded that milk price be raised by at least ₹5 a litre to help farmers tide over the crisis. The rise in cattle feed price too is a matter of concern, according to the union.
ERCMPU chairman John Theruvath said he had submitted a memorandum to the State government to consider a raise in milk price to support dairy farmers. One of the key demands is that the government step in to provide incentive for milk being procured in the organised sector. Besides, the government can also offer subsidies for cattle feed, he said.
Mr. Theruvath said there had been a dip in procurement from the previous levels when it outscored sales. However, recent weeks have seen ERCMPU sales soar to 4.62 lakh litres a day, including curd, while the procurement level was 3.66 lakh litres. Milk is being imported from other States, with the milk union incurring ₹8 per litre loss in terms of transport cost, he added. The union is also incurring a loss of around ₹4 lakh a day on that count.
The regional dairy cooperative sells around 8,000 litres of the Rich Milk variety, 3.64 lakh litres of the Pride category, and 57,000 litres of toned milk a day, and the varieties are priced ₹52, ₹46, and ₹44 a litre respectively.
Meanwhile, the Ernakulam district panchayat has begun distribution of subsidies to Kudumbashree units under the Ksheera Sagaram project to raise milk production, encourage women dairy entrepreneurs, and to help eradicate poverty. A total of 83 Kudumbashree units will be given a total subsidy of ₹1.84 crore under the People’s Plan campaign allocation.