Milk procurement in the combined area of Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Idukki districts has gone up by nearly 27,000 litres a day on an average with more farmers turning to dairying to quickly augment income in the wake of the devastation suffered by the farming sector in the August 2018 floods.
Milk procurement has markedly improved in areas where farming was significantly affected, said an official speaking for the Ernakulam Region Cooperative Milk Producers Union (ERCMPU). He added that milk procurement had gone up substantially in the Malabar region, where the daily procurement has increased by around 55,000 litres a day on an average. However, the Thiruvananthapuram region of the cooperative milk union has not shown any significant change in volumes, he said.
Besides increasing dairying activities, support from local self-government bodies is a major factor that has boosted dairying activities after the floods. Local bodies provide between ₹2 and ₹4 to farmers as additional incentives per litre of milk produced. “Kerala farmers get the highest price in India for milk now,” said the ERCMPU official, pointing out that the average price was ₹35.40 a litre. This includes the ₹1 incentive provided by the milk cooperative.
Milk procurement had gone down substantially after the 2018 floods. According to the milk cooperative, there were around 1,200 milch animal deaths in the floods in Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kottayam districts. Animal deaths, loss of milking days, and sick animals had combined to push the Onam season milk procurement in the region by around 1 lakh litres a day.