KERALA

Milma milk to cost more

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Oct. 28. The Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Milma) has decided to hike the price of milk by Re. 1. The hike is expected to come into effect on November 21.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the director board of KCMMF here on Monday. There was no objection from the three Government nominees on the board and a formal letter has already been sent to the Government, the chairman of Milma, P.T. Gopalakurup, said.

The Government was not expected to strike down the hike, as this was a just and long-standing demand of dairy farmers, he said. Dairy farmers were quitting the sector in a big way and the hike was required to protect their interests, he added.

The price of Milma's toned milk will thus go up from Rs. 13 a litre to Rs. 14. The price of other products brought out by the Milma would also go up in the same ratio, Mr. Kurup said.

Of the Re. 1, as much as 83 paise would go to the farmers and the rest would be split up between the regional unions, primary societies and the marketing division.

Though it has been the norm to go in for a hike every two years, the last time Milma upped its prices was in 1999. Though the Federation had recommended a hike of Rs. 1.50 then, the Government had struck it down and restricted the hike at Re. 1

While a hike in milk price had been on the cards for quite a while, the Milma had held back because of the changed market conditions and increased competition in the sector, Mr. Kurup said.

Now that the Milma has entered into a joint venture with the National Dairy Development Board — Milma Foods Ltd. — to handle marketing activities in the State, the selling price has to be officially approved by the Milma Foods Ltd. However, there should be no hitches from that side, sources said.

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