The Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union, comprising primary dairy societies and farmers under them in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kottayam and Idukki districts, is now procuring more milk than it sells on a daily basis, making the region the second in the State to bring Kerala closer to being self-sufficient in milk production.
ERCMPU chairman John Theruvath said on Wednesday that milk procurement in the region was to the tune of 3.60 lakh litres per day while sales stood around 3.30 lakh litres. Around 30,000 litres of milk was being processed for value-added products, he said.
The Ernakulam region comprises 933 Anand Pattern primary societies, to which 46,000 dairy farmers are affiliated. The increase in milk procurement is a good sign after the fall in production during the COVID-19 lockdown. The Ernakulam region had seen daily procurement fall to around 2.7 lakh litres during the lockdown.
The Malabar Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union, the largest of the three regional unions, was the first in the State to achieve self-sufficiency. Both Ernakulam and Thiruvanananthapuram regions depended on the Malabar region (comprising Kozhikode, Palakkad, Wayanad, Malappuram, Kannur and Kasaragod districts) for getting supplies to meet shortage in procurement.
The Malabar region accounts for about eight lakh litres of milk procurement daily. The region has 1,200 primary milk societies comprising three lakh dairy farmers.
Minister for Dairy Development and Animal Husbandry K. Raju had told the Kerala Looks Ahead conference on Tuesday that the State expected to achieve self-sufficiency in milk production by 2024. The State is preparing itself for establishing facilities for processing excess milk that will be produced. The facilities included an upcoming milk powder making unit near Valancherry in Malappuram district, the Minister told the conference.
The government has been providing subsidy to dairy farmers depending on the size of the size of farms and the number of animals kept. The Minister said the cooperative sector accounted for a total of 21.3 lakh litres of milk procured per day in the State.