Severe summer hits dairy production in Ernakulam region

Shortage partly being met with supplies from Malabar region

The onset of a severe summer and the subsequent shortage of green fodder have hit milk procurement by the regional union of cooperative milk producers even as there is a rise in the number of dairy enterprises in the region with several expatriate Malayalis returning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Theruvath, Chairman of Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers Union (ERCMPU), said that milk procurement had dipped to 3.35 lakh litres a day while the sale was around 3.60 lakh litres. The milk supply situation was balanced immediately after the winter season when procurement had exceeded daily sales.

The shortage in milk procurement by the Milma union was partly being met with supplies from the Malabar region while a part of the shortage was being filled in by procurement from the neighbouring state of Karnataka, he added.

The ERCMPU comprises primary dairy societies in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kottayam and Idukki districts.

The region was able to achieve self-sufficiency with an increase in procurement immediately after the COVID-19 lockdown. The procurement level had risen to 3.60 lakh litres per day while sales stood around 3.30 lakh litres.

The excess milk procured by the union – 30,000 litres – was being processed for value-added products. The Ernakulam region comprises 933 Anand Pattern primary societies, to which 46,000 dairy farmers are affiliated.

In February this year, the regional milk union decided to pay ₹3 per litre extra to farmers in addition to the prevailing procurement price. The decision was meant to encourage farmers, who had fallen on difficult days because of the slowdown in the economy due to the lockdown.

Mr. Theruvath said the lockdown period had witnessed more people taking up dairy farming as a means of livelihood. The cooperative was trying to support the farms raised mostly by expatriate Malayalis, he added.

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