Dairy sector no longer a ‘cash cow’

PALAKKAD: Post-demonetisation,the dairy farmers, who had accounts in primary cooperative societies, were now left with no option other than to rely on their accounts in nationalised banks for their weekly sale proceeds. In the process, the farmers are forced to spend a lot of time standing in the queues at banks which in turn affects their daily routine.

Says Muthalam Thode Mani, president of the Muthalam Thode Ksheera karshaka sangham, “Nearly 80 per cent members of our sangham have opened accounts in nationalised banks and we are transferring the money to these accounts. There is also a direction from the Animal Husbandry Department that the amount should be paid through the banks. Earlier, the Sangham used to pay the amount of milk measured, every Wednesday, after the payment from Milma arrived through the Union Bank. ”

P T Gopala Kurup, chairman of Milma, said,”Though, there is a `24,000 limit, the farmers get only a lesser amount. We are now transferring money through the RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) but the farmer has to miss his daily work of milking cows, buying cattle feed and other sundry work as he has to spend a lot of time in the nationalised banks.”

According to K S Mani, Ennapadam ksheera karshaka sangham president and former Milma director,” The farmers in our sangham have begun to accept cheque payments and every week we are issuing cheques. Under the Cooperative Societies Act, there was a limit to keeping cash in hand but we have sought permission to get relaxation this condition.

Joe Simon, manager of Malabar Regional Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union (MRCMPU) in Kozhikode, said,” We have 1,757 milk societies under the MRCMPU. During the initial period that followed demonetisation, sales were very low and we had an excess of 50,000 litres of milk daily.

“Since our Alappuzha dairy powder plant was not yet ready, we had to look for alternate sources.”