Minister for Dairy Development Mano Thangaraj on Tuesday said that making the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers Federation into a profit-making enterprise by increasing production and then paying the farmers what is due to them without burdening the end consumer was the task that he had taken on hand.
Talking about his plans to turn around Aavin after inspecting the Sholinganallur dairy, the Minister, who till recently held the IT portfolio, told The Hindu that his aim was to do it as quickly as possible.
“We are making an in-depth analysis of every activity of the milk major. Everything from fitness certificates for milk tankers to cleaning of dairies and selling price of Aavin products in the market is being studied. Even a correction of 5% – 10% would help the organisation in a big way. We are asking the various section heads to talk with the staff and find out their needs. Even if they don’t know how to process a file, we will teach them the workflow. We are planning to train them in information and communications technology,” he said.
The Minister said that automation of systems would be done wherever possible. “We will ensure the systems that are in place are being implemented. For instance, I am told that hot water is used to clean the entire dairy to ensure that milk does not curdle. I want to ensure that this cleaning is done properly according to the SOPs laid down. Such eye to detail will help improve quality of products, which will be to the advantage of the consumers who will be able to see a marked improvement in quality very shortly,” he said.
Asked about selling of Aavin milk above MRP in the market, he said there cannot be different selling prices in different places. “We will study the market, look at pricing of the various brands and see if there is a proper justification for that. We want uniform pricing for Aavin products across the State and elsewhere,” he said.
Mr.Thangaraj said that the Chief Minister had wanted him to ensure self-sufficiency in milk production. “Across the country, milk production is coming down. In such a situation, we want to bring about a White Revolution in the State. We will work with various departments including agriculture, animal husbandry, Tahdco, Magalir Thittam, NGOs and even banks.”
One suggestion, he said, was to rope in members of SHGs who would be willing to rear cattle. “They would be provided land where they can grow fodder and house the cattle, and they would have to supply milk to Aavin. They would get paid for their services,” he explained.
However, he made it clear that only those with an aptitude for this would be chosen. “When you plan people’s livelihoods, you need to do it very carefully. You cannot give cows or goats to everyone,” he said.
Insurance and fodder to farmers would be provided. The procurement price being paid to farmers would also be increased.
“They supply milk to us for various reasons. We procure the milk throughout the year; any quantity of milk will be taken. We will also provide veterinary support and fodder at subsidised rate. We are looking at increasing milk production so that Aavin can make a profit and pay the farmer what is due to him without burdening the end consumer,” he said.