The Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union has welcomed the move to commission a milk powder unit at Moorkanad in Malappuram district in early 2023.
The unit, with capacity to process around one lakh litres of milk a day, will address the issue of increasing procurement, especially in the Malabar region. It is being set up with financial support from the State Government and the Malabar Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union.
Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Milma) Chairman K.S. Mani said on Monday that the plant would be established at an estimated cost of ₹54 crore, with possibly a slight cost overrun owing to the rise in prices of building materials. Milma is also working to accommodate other facilities like storage and packing wings within the same complex. It will help reduce the cost of the project, Mr. Mani sai
Milk procurement in the State has gone up to a total of 15.15 lakh litres a day as per figures available for the last six months. Sales stand at around ₹13.95 lakh, leaving an excess of more than one lakh litres a day to be processed. While a part of excess milk goes into value-added products, there is also conversion of milk into milk powder, utilising facilities available in neighbouring State
The setting up of the plant will help the State milk marketing federation aggressively intervene to increase milk production, said Mr. Mani. The opening up of economic activities post-pandemic and reopening of schools will substantially increase the demand for milk, he added. Sales have gone up considerably after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. The trend is expected to be one of rising demand.
According to Mr. Mani, the rise in milk consumption will make it possible to increase sales to at least 14.50 lakh litres a day by the end of the current fiscal.
COVID-19 curbs and the economic slowdown had discouraged new dairy farmers from entering the scene, but the lifting of restrictions and opening up of activities are expected to draw more people into the sector. This positive trend may raise the procurement level by 55,000 to 60,000 litres a day, he said.
He added that while the Federation faced difficulties during the pandemic, dairy farmers were among those who were least affected by the restrictions.