THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Power shortage? Yes; water shortage? Yes again. But milk shortage? The fact is, this summer, the serpentine queues in front of the city’s Milma booths are absent. Reason - the ‘milk river’ did not dry up despite the heat. The Thiruvananthapuram regional union of the Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Milma) has doubled procurement this year compared to last year, when the milk distribution had hit a record low during the dry summer months. Internal production in the State has shot up, bolstering milk supply during the summer months. In fact, to such an extent that Milma has not had to impose any restriction this year, officials said.
Milma Thiruvananthapuram union’s procurement from the four southern districts has shot up from 1.4 lakh litres a day last year to 2.25 lakh litres now. Besides, milk imports from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also are on a normal scale as internal production has increased in those states, according to Milma officials.
During the summer of 2011, the capital city had faced an acute shortage of milk after supplies from neighbouring states dried up. ‘’We are getting 1.5 lakh litres a day from Karnataka now. Last summer, it was nil. From Tamil Nadu, we now get 50,000 litres per day. Last year, that too had almost come to a stop,’’ Milma managing director Baby Joseph said.
The daily demand faced by Milma is 4.6 lakh litres. Its Thiruvananthapuram union is in charge of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts.
A variety of reasons are cited for the safe milk position this summer; the large number of schemes launched both by the government and cooperatives such as Milma in the dairy sector being one. The ` 5-hike in milk prices also has benefited dairy farmers, offering them an incentive to stay on despite the increase in milk production cost.