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Dairy farmers in Kerala welcome heat index-based insurance cover for animals

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Dairy farmers have responded keenly to the heat index-based cattle insurance scheme rolled out by the Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union (ERCMPU).

The novel scheme, introduced for April and May considering the rising temperatures, saw around 25,000 animals getting the insurance cover. Taking the average number of animals per dairy unit, around 10,000 farmers could be involved, said M.T. Jayan, chairman, ERCMPU, on Thursday.

The scheme was opened for farmers in Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Idukki districts, which fall under the regional cooperative. There are around 1,000 dairy cooperatives in the region.

The premium is ₹99 per animal. Of this, ₹50 is paid by the regional cooperative and ₹49 by the beneficiaries. The eligible insurance cover is remitted directly to the accounts of farmers.

The rising temperatures, meanwhile, have had a clearly visible impact on the general health of animals as well as milk production. Mr. Jayan said milk procurement in the region had fallen short by around a lakh litres a day. There is an overall shortage of 20% across the State, indicating an overall shortage of at least three lakh litres a day from the usual levels.

The average milk procurement in the Ernakulam region used to be around 3.25 lakh litres a day. At the same time, milk sales now hover around 4 lakh litres. The shortfall in local milk supply is met through import from Maharashtra and Karnataka.


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Mr. Jayan said dairy farmers were not in a position to collect fodder or to let out animals for forage as the heat level is high. Animals are sheltered under shade trees or in cattle sheds during most part of the day to prevent heat stroke. Watering them frequently is a must during the hot months, and this has added to the tasks of the farmers who used to collect green fodder or prepare other feeds during the day time.

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