PALAKKAD: With the onset of monsoon, Milma is getting so much of excess milk that the Malabar Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union (MRCMPU) has been converting 70,000 litres of it to powder on an average basis daily, incurring huge loss. The summer rain and arrival of more cheap milk and powder from across the border have only worsened the situation.
The MRCMPU is procuring seven lakh litres of milk on an average daily of which only 4.75 lakh is being consumed. While Milma procures milk at Rs 35.40 per litre, it is available in Tamil Nadu at Rs 22 per litre. Even if transportation is accounted for, one litre can be sold for Rs 25. On an average, six lakh litres of milk arrive from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka daily in tanker lorries through the check posts, especially Meenakshipuram. The hotels, tea stalls and also commercial establishments prefer milk from Tamil Nadu as they dole out lucrative commission.
The Ernakulam Union is more or less self sufficient while there is a deficit of only 1.25 lakh litres in Thiruvananthapuram Union. Therefore, after meeting its needs, we’ve to convert the rest into powder,” said Milma senior manager (procurement and input) K C James.
“The cost of milk procurement from the farmers is Rs 290 per kg. The cost of chilling, transporting and packing makes it Rs 320 per kg for Milma. On the other hand, milk powder from the neighbouring states is available in the retail market for Rs 110 to Rs 120 per kg,” said Joe Simon, manager.
“Due to various government schemes, milk production has increased in the state significantly. Last year, there was only a nominal quantity of excess milk. However, there has been a 15 per cent increase in procurement of milk by the MRCMPU this year and a three per cent dip in sales vis-a-vis that of last year.
“It’s difficult to dispose off milk powder in the retail market due to higher price compared to that from neighbouring states. Moreover, the powder can’t be used for our own use as there’s enough production in the state”, said James.
“The bigger price Kerala offers (Rs 39.40 per litre) makes TN farmers in the border districts measure milk in our societies than theirs which give only Rs 25 per litre. Therefore, we’ve placed “quotas” on 53 of the 324 milk societies located in Palakkad district and they won’t be able to measure more than the fixed quota,” said Palakkad Dairy Development Department deputy director P A Beena.