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TN dairy farmers to get 2 lakh jersey cows to keep milk flowing

After being snubbed by a section of dairy farmers who have been selling their milk to private dairies for a higher price since January, Aavin has decided to purchase two lakhs crossbred jersey milch cows from other states as part of its plan to facilitate loans to dairy farmers.

According to sources, each cow may cost between Rs 50,000 and Rs 70,000. The plan aims to strengthen Aavin’s milk supplier network by bringing under its fold a dedicated set of dairy farmers who are committed to supplying milk to the state’s milk cooperative. The initiative is expected to revive the dormant cooperative milk producers’ societies while increasing Aavin’s milk procurement capacity by a minimum of five to eight lakh litres per day over the next few years.

This comes almost two years after the DMK government halted the AIADMK’s 2011 initiative of distributing 12,000 milch cows annually to dairy farmers at a 100% subsidy through the animal husbandry department. The state government had spent Rs 45 to Rs 46 crore a year for implementing that scheme.

Aavin’s milk procurement dropped to 26 to 27 lakh litres a day since January this year, compared to its production of 37.38 lakhs, after a section of farmers sold milk to private dairies for a higher price of Rs 45 to Rs 48 a litre. The farmers’ decision was attributed to the huge demand for milk caused by the outbreak of lumpy skin disease and the low procurement price of Rs 33 to Rs 35 offered by Aavin.

Aavin to provide guarantee for dairy farmers’ bank loan

Against this backdrop, the state-owned dairy set the ball rolling for the new scheme last week by releasing guidelines to district cooperative milk producers unions for purchase two lakh milch cows.

Aavin sources said dairy farmers who encounter difficulties in securing loans due to outstanding debt liabilities or inability to mortgage their properties will receive financial assistance to purchase milch cows. NABSanrakshan, a subsidiary of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), will facilitate the support.

“Aavin will provide a bank guarantee for repaying their monthly installments. The repayment will be included in their milk bill. As soon as the dairy farmer starts supplying milk to societies, a part of the money will be deducted from the milk bill every day and paid towards monthly EMI through ECS,” a senior Aavin official said. As per guidelines, crossbred jersey cows that are capable of yielding 10 litres of milk per day will be purchased. The allocation of cows to districts has been determined based on the demand for milk.

“Before being bought, milch cows will be subjected to examination by veterinarians who are members of district-level committees. Priority will be given to producers who consistently supply to Aavin primary cooperative producers unions,” said the officer.

Aavin will provide cattle feed, green fodder and other health services to farmers to help reduce their production costs, said official. At present, 9,673 primary milk producers’ cooperative societies are procuring milk from 3.99 lakh dairy farmers. K Rajavel of Dharapadavedu, a Vellore farmer, said, “Dairy farmers who benefited from the free milch cow scheme supplied their milk to Aavin. Aavin should ensure that vaccines and other health services are provided to cattle and give 75 % subsidy on insurance premiums for milch cows.”

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