'Milk route' faces threat of closure

'Milk route' faces threat of closure

The cooperative milk society in Menasuru village in N R Pura taluk has closed down.

The ambitious ‘Ksheera Patha’ (milk route), which was the most sought-after project by the dairy farmers of the Malnad region, now faces the threat of closure. 

Ksheera Patha project was initiated in 2010 with the opening of 12 milk producers societies in the region. As many as  11 societies were opened in N R Pura taluk and one in Kuduregundi, Koppa. The entire project was conceived in 2008 by the then district in-charge K S Eshwarappa and MLA D N Jeevraj, to provide a marketing platform for dairy farmers.

The N R Pura and Koppa milk societies come under the jurisdiction of Hassan district cooperative milk producers’ union. But, as Hassan union refused to collect milk from N R Pura and Koppa milk routes, the legislators mounted pressure on Shivamogga milk union to collect milk from these two routes on a temporary basis.

This move encouraged the farmers to actively engage in dairy farming after procuring a loan from banks to
purchase cattle.

However, as the Hassan milk union sells the milk provided by Shivamogga union, the latter incurs a loss. As per an estimate, Hassan union has been selling 20,000 litres of milk in Sringeri and 1,000 litres of milk in N R Pura.

Sringeri milk route has not been made independent of Hassan union, which has been collecting milk from N R Pura and koppa societies till today. Moreover, Shivamogga union has been returning milk quoting the reason of poor quality. Due to this, the dairy farmers have been incurring losses.

No benefits

“The milk subsidy reaches farmers only once in five months. Owing to losses, Menasuru and K Kanaburu milk producers societies have been closed. Protests will be staged shortly, urging to handover the milk route to Shivamogga union,” said Haalu Utpadakara Kshetra Hitarakshana Vedike president E C Joyi.

B H Kaimara milk producers union president Ashwan said that the Hassan union has not been purchasing milk from dairy farmers as the association has been registered with Shivamogga milk union. Also, the cattle feed is not provided by the union. The farmers have to purchase cattle feed from outside, paying a hefty amount. It has been very difficult to maintain the society, he added.

Menasuru milk producers society president C J Joyi said that initially, there was a daily procurement of 80 litres of milk in the society. But, as the milk rate and subsidies decreased, the availability of milk decreased to 15 litres.

Bleak future 

The dairy farmers have now become the victims of the tussle between Hassan milk union and Shivamogga milk union, on the lines of the milk route.

The farmers who had been dreaming of finding a sustainable livelihood through dairy farming now see a bleak future.