Foot and Mouth Disease: Milma Braces up for Summer Milk Squeeze - The New Indian Express

Foot and Mouth Disease: Milma Braces up for Summer Milk Squeeze

Published: 30th November 2013 08:41 AM

Last Updated: 30th November 2013 08:42 AM

The outbreak of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) among cattle is likely to accentuate the milk shortage that the State faces in lean summer months.

 As per the latest statistics brought out by the Animal Disease Control Project (ADCP) office in Thiruvananthapuram, more than 500 cattle have died since September 2013 in the State, of which 336 were from Palakkad district, the largest milk producing centre.  “Most of the deaths have occurred in the border districts of Palakkad, Thrissur and Kollam districts and around 6,000 cattle have been affected in Kerala. Thousands of cattle have died in the neighbouring states due to the severe outbreak,” said Dr J Chandramohan, state co-ordinator, ADCP.

 Only the Malabar Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union (MRCMPU) has surplus milk. Both the Ernakulam regional union and Thiruvananthapuram union are already reeling under the shortage. In the MRCMPU, the procurement of milk on November 22 was 1,50,998 litres from Palakkad followed by 87,700 litres from Wayanad, 75,000 litres from Kozhikode and 49,000 litres from Kannur. In the Palakkad dairy, because of the death of milch cows on a daily basis, the procurement fell from 1,62,000 litres per day in October to 1,48,000 litres in November, said K Sukumaran, Manager (Procurement and input), Milma. 

“The procurement of milk has dropped from 5,30,000 litres per day in the MRCMPU to 4,80,000 per day in a month. This may be due to the climatic variations and the recent outbreak of disease. There is also a need to check the entry of diseased cattle from outside the State,” said P T Gopala Kurup, Chairman, Milma.

Unless something is done on a war footing, the production of milk could fall drastically, he said.

 “We have experienced a shortfall in procurement of around 12,000 litres of milk in recent weeks. The average procurement is 2,10,000 litres per day and average sale is 4,60,000 litres per day. We anticipate a shortfall of 2,50,000 litres in summer which is met from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, the Malabar union and the help of milk powder. The Maharashtra dairy authorities have informed that they have surplus milk and the apex body of the Board will meet on December 15 to chalk out the schemes for purchase,” said Baby Joseph, MD of the Thiruvananthapuram Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union.

 According to Susheel Chandran, MD, Ernakulam Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union, the incidence of FMD was not that grave in Ernakulam. “While the procurement of milk was 2,20,000 litres daily, the sale was 3,20,000. The shortfall is being met from co-operative dairies like Aavin in TN and Nandini in Karnataka,” he said.

It is the border districts like Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram and Idukki which have reported large number of deaths of cattle due to the disease in Kerala. This was because diseased cattle available at throwaway prices in the neighbouring states are transported to Kerala for slaughter, says N Shudhodhanan, deputy director of Animal Husbandary.

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