The Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union (ERCMPU) has sought a hike in milk price by at least ₹5 per litre to help dairy farmers, who are grappling with a steep rise in cattle feed prices.
ERCMPU chairman John Theruvath said he had submitted a memorandum to the State government to consider a hike in milk price. He expressed apprehension that the rise in prices of cattle feed would drive dairy farmers away from the sector.
The regional cooperative had paid an additional ₹5.50 crore to farmers in February and March to keep them in the business. He said the dairy cooperative had approached Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan as well as Mathew Kuzhalnadan, MLA, to take up the issue with J. Chinju Rani, Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development.
The retail price of milk is ₹48 a litre. Farmers are paid between ₹38 and ₹44 by the milk cooperative, which procures milk, processes and sells it.
Mr. Theruvath said the regional cooperative had been supporting farmers through measures like launch of low-cost milking machines with the support of the National Dairy Development Board. He added that there had been a shortage of milk procurement in the region as the summer season had peaked. The total milk procurement stands at around 3.44 lakh litre a day now, while the sale is around 4.28 lakh litres.
There are 936 dairy cooperatives under the Ernakulam regional dairy cooperative.