The Ernakulam Region Cooperative Milk Producers' Union has launched milking machines that can work on both petrol as well as electric engines linked to motor bikes to help dairy farmers. The milking machines have been developed with the help of the National Dairy Development Board and can milk two animals in eight minutes, said John Theruvath, Chairman of the regional milk cooperative.
He said it was the first time that these machines were being launched in India with the help of the board and 10 machines had been given to dairy societies under the milk producers' union. There were a total of 936 dairy societies under the Ernakulam union, under which there were around 46,000 dairy farmers.
Mr. Theruvath said there had been a shortage of hands to milk the animals and the new machines, accessible to even farmers with limited number of milch animals, would help increase production. The dairy farmers had been faced with increasing labour costs as well as the high cost of milking machines.
The low-cost milking machines that had now been launched were being experimented with in different parts of Kerala over the past four years and they had been found to be a success, Mr. Theruvath said.
The milking machines had now been supplied to selected dairy societies in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kottayam, and Idukki districts under the ERCMPU. Mr. Theruvath said more farmers would be trained in using the machines in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the regional milk cooperative has begun paying ₹2 extra to dairy farmers from February after considering the difficulties being faced by the farmers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Theruvath said there had been a shortage of procurement of milk in the State in relation to the sales during the summer months. The total procurement now stood at 3.44 lakh litre per day while the sale was around 4.28 lakh litres, including curd.