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Tiruchi Aavin struggles to woo back milk suppliers

Notwithstanding efforts to bring back farmers who have switched over to private dairies in the recent past, the Tiruchi District Milk Producers’ Union, popularly known as Aavin, is struggling to achieve the normal average milk procurement levels.

The procurement generally goes down in April and May due to shortage of green fodder, drinking water for cattle and other reasons related to hot weather. The procurement gradually goes up in June and July with the onset of the south-west monsoon.

According to sources, milk procurement has not shown any significant improvement in the current month. It hovers around 4.90 lakh litres as against the average procurement level of about 5.60 lakh litres, a drop of about 70,000 litres.

Though the average milk procurement has gone up when compared to June, official sources say it is nominal. It has gone up by just 500 litres to 600 litres a day. While officials attribute the continuous dry weather to the low procurement, sources in the cooperative milk societies say the sharp procurement price offered to milk suppliers between private dairies and Aavin is the main reason for the issues being faced by Aavin.

Informed sources told The Hindu that a sizeable number of farmers, who were members of milk cooperative societies, had started supplying to private dairies which offered a higher price. While Aavin paid about ₹35 a litre for cow milk, the private dairies offered between ₹28 and ₹40 a litre Only farmers, who had a long-term association with the milk societies, continued to supply to Aavin. Farmers could be brought back into the Aavin fold again if the State government hiked procurement prices on a par with the private players. However, Tiruchi Aavin was better placed in procurement when the shortfall was between 20% to 50% in unions along border districts such as Coimbatore, Theni and Tiruppur.

When contacted, a senior official of Tiruchi Aavin said the aspirations of the member societies had been conveyed to senior officials. Several steps had been taken to increase milk procurement. It would go up if the rural parts of Tiruchi, Perambalur and Ariyalur districts received good rain for a few days.

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