THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: To help dairy farmers who have been hit by the sharp fall in demand for milk owing to the triple lockdown in four districts, the state government has decided to purchase milk and milk products from Milma regional units for supplying them to relief camps functioning in the state.
The decision is expected to ease the suffering of dairy farmers who are staring at a crisis after regional milk co-operatives reduced procurement citing a dip in consumption. As per Milma’s statistics, they procure about 16 lakh litres of milk from the state. Of that, half of the quantity comes from Malabar, while Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam societies collect four lakh litres each.
However, consumption has dipped in Malabar and Ernakulam regions resulting in a surfeit of milk in the market. Milma, on its part, had taken a slew of measures such as ‘milk challenge’ and distribution of bonus packets. However, the efforts were not enough to solve the problem. The triple lockdown enforced in four districts had thrown Milma’s sales out of gear, following which it decided to cap the procurement of milk from regional units. This restriction affected farmers the most as they were not able to store the milk or find alternative markets.
The Milma managing director wrote to the government that due to the decrease in sales, the Malabar region had cut down procurement by 40%. He had also requested the government to buy milk from the regional milk cooperatives for distribution among those who are living in camps due to rain-related incidents.
Heeding the demand, the government entrusted the district collectors with the task of supplying milk and other allied products to the camps. As many 75 camps are currently operating in the state and with the monsoon approaching, the number is expected to go up. The expense incurred for this purpose would be met from the State Disaster Response Fund.