Uthukuli town near Tirupur well-known for its delicious butter for the past half-a-century produces around three to five tonnes of butter every day. It finds its market within Tamil Nadu and other States.
But, the constraints faced by the micro and small scale butter producers have been affecting the business growth during the past many years.
“Business have not grown for almost a decade now”, K. Saminathan, manager of Uthukuli Sarvodaya Sangh which coordinates many a dairy activities of the butter producers for the past 50 years, told .
The main problems cited by the butter producers are the poor price realisation due to absence of cold storage facilities, inadequate support for cattle growers to overcome fodder shortages in dry seasons and lack of good train connectivity from Uthukuli to transport the butter, among few others.
“If the authorities did not intervene to support the business, the butter production can even vanish very soon”, said P. Ramasamy, who has been producing butter for the past 35 years.
He pointed out that the producers can fetch attractive prices to commensurate with the raw material cost hike only if cold storage facilities were created. “Otherwise, we will be forced to sell on a daily basis affecting the bargaining power”.
Similarly, inadequate train connectivity is forcing the butter producers to depend on the road couriers, the transportation charges of which have been going up steadily.
“Uthukuli being a small station, only very few trains stop here. Of them, only one train (i.e. Mangalore-Egmore express) is useful to us. Due to this, we have been sending bulk of the cargoes by road at higher costs. Considering the cluster’s importance, stoppages should be allocated for more long distance trains”, said the butter producers.
The producers are also worried about the tendency shown by farmers to sell the cattle when fodder shortages come in summer. “Unless the government supports farmers, it will have a cascading effect on butter production”.