THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With Onam celebrations confining to home due to Covid-19, the cancellation of ‘payasam melas’ has turned the season bitter for Milma at a time when otherwise the demand for milk hits an all-time high. Milk is the major component of ‘Palada payasam’, an indispensable dessert for the festival season. During previous Onam seasons, the government’s milk co-operative purchases 3-4 lakh litres of milk on a daily basis from the neighbouring states of Karnataka,Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. However, the quantity has dipped to 60,000 litres this time.
Milma chairman P A Balan said some of the purchases are customary to maintain good relationships with other federations. “There used to be advance bookings from caterers. But this time we are yet to see the demand picking up,” he said. The demand has reduced due to the restrictions in the number of people attending weddings, cancellation of public functions and the risk aversion by hotels and caterers.
“People are neither comfortable in purchasing payasam parcels. Hence, we cannot afford to make the desserts in large quantities,” said a caterer. Milma procures over 12 lakh litres from the dairy farmers in the state. The excess milk is sent back to the milk powder factories of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Milma expects the demand from individuals to increase during the festive season. Its three regional units have also turned to value-added products to utilise the excess milk. The Thiruvana-nthapuram region launched a health drink called Milma Good Health Immunity Booster on Tuesday. It is made of milk and spices. The Malabar region is expected to launch similar products on August 28, while the Ernakulam region has come up with different types of ‘pedas’, a sweet made from milk.