Representative Image / Photo: Arun Krishnankutty
Palakkad: UN's Food and Agriculture Organization observes June 1 as World Milk Day. The day focuses on the importance of milk at the global level. Interestingly, at this juncture, milk production in the state is faring well compared to the major sectors that are trying to overcome Covid blues. In the last year, production has increased by 6.14 cr litre. Similarly, the milk marketed through Milma has also increased by 25 per cent. It may be noted that the data has not considered the local sales by dairy farmers.
In the financial year 2021-22, the milk collected through 3,350 milk societies in the state is 77,32,72,364 litres. While the money dispersed to dairy farmers through these societies is Rs 29,384 crores.
Covid-19 induced financial constraints have brought more individuals to the dairy sector. According to the Department of Dairy Development, in the last two years, 3.92 lakh dairy farmers have registered with it. The number of new farmers enrolled during this period is around 12,000. This alone has resulted in an increase in milk production by 2.59 lakh litres.
However, owing to higher operation costs, the farmers are losing profit. The price of 50 kg sack feed rose by Rs 250 in the last two years. The prices of hay, wheat, bran and groundnut cake have increased by a range of Rs 5. On the other hand, the farmers for four years are only getting Rs 38/ litre. The sales price is Rs 48/litre. The production cost as per the government estimate is Rs 44/litre. The farmers demand fodder grass, cattle feed and insurance for the cows at lower rates.
Also, despite increased production, in some dairy regions, the poolers had to rely on supplies from neighbouring states to deliver the demand in the Onam and Vishu seasons. Many are stocking the milk in powdered form to manage such demands.