The district panchayat is set to enter the packaged dairy products market with milk sourced from its livestock farms at Vithura and Thettachal. The civic body has initiated steps to establish chilling and packaging unit at a cost of Rs.15 lakh at Vithura to supply farm fresh milk in half-a-litre packets.

“Work is at various stages and we plan to enter the market by next year,” panchayat secretary K. Chandrasekhar said. The two farms with 600 heads of cattle, including a large number of calves, produce around 1,500 litres of milk a day. Currently, the milk is being sold to Kerala Milk Marketing Federation Limited and households near the farms.

At Rs.40 a litre

The civic body plans to price the product around Rs.40 a litre. “There is huge demand for farm fresh milk in the city. Some private outlets are selling a litre of milk at Rs.60. Our price will be attractive and we are in the process of branding the product,” he said.

Vithura farm
Vithura farm

The idea to enter the packaged milk business struck after the Kerala State Housing Board, nodal agency for the ongoing modernisation of its farm at Vithura, in its report pointed out the opportunity in the sector. Once modernisation of the farm was completed, more hybrid bovines would be procured to increase the output to 6,000 litres a day.

Automated parlour

The farm has been conceptualised on a “loose housing system pattern,” in which animals are kept loose in an open paddock, except during milking, treatment and breeding.

For optimal utilisation of the facilities proposed, the farm can house 240 cows. The automated parlour will have a cow pusher, an identification system, an activity-monitoring system, a production measurement and automatic weighing machine and a teat-spraying equipment.

The project envisages a fully equipped medium-level automated cattle farm complex with amenities for raising quality milch cows.

Work on the project, estimated at Rs.17.03 crore is under way.