Drought hits dairy farming, milk production down by 40k litres/day

Chamul to hike procurement prices; UHT processing unit in August

Acute shortage of water and green fodder has severely hit dairy farming in the district. The prevailing drought has reduced milk production significantly. According to Chamarajanagar Milk Union Ltd (Chamul) sources, the milk production has come down by 40,000 litres/day.

On an average, the maximum milk production was 2.89 lakh litres in 2015 and it was 2.29 lakh litres in 2016. This year, the milk production has been around 1.90 lakh litres.

The situation was further compounded by water not being released into Kabini right bank canal. With no water it became impossible to grow grass for livestock therefore reducing production of milk. There are 2.84 lakh cattle heads in the district, including 96,000 hybrid breeds and 20,000 buffaloes.

Chamarajanagar Milk Union Limited (Chamul) is now planning to motivate dairy farmers by hiking milk procurement prices. In addition, the government too has increased the incentive amount. The milk federation pays Rs 26 per litre to dairy farmers while the government incentive is Rs 5 per litre.

Managing Director of Chamul M S Vijaykumar told DH that Chamul building will be completed within two months. The building will house an Ultra High Temperature (UHT) processing unit, which will increase the shelf life of milk by six months. The building will begin functioning from August, he said.

Farmers in distress

In all, 458 Milk Producers Cooperative Societies come under Chamul. Of these, 95 societies are run by women, and thousands of families are dependent on dairy farming for their living.

About one-and-a-half decades ago, vast expanses of the district were rainfed, aiding farmers of the region to grow mulberry and make sericulture their main occupation. However, with the district facing drought in the last few years, sericulture took back seat and dairy farming gained importance. Many families had taken loans from cooperative associations and banks to purchase hybrid variety of cows to pursue dairy farming.

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