Milk producers demand higher purchase prices, say Aavin’s prices are very low compared to private dairies

Farmers say their costs, especially for livestock feed, have increased; Protesters in Salem demanded talks with Dairy Development Minister by October 26

Farmers say their costs, especially for livestock feed, have increased; Protesters in Salem demanded talks with Dairy Development Minister by October 26

Like many other milk producers in the state, who complain about the low purchase prices paid by the Federation of Cooperative Milk Producers of Tamil Nadu, farmer Kanthimathi Shanmugam also says she is spending more and more on feeding his cattle.

“I recently went to Rasipuram to stay with a relative, whose family are also milk producers, and I did not believe them when they said they were getting Rs 37-40 per liter of milk from a private dairy. We get ₹28 and ₹29 per liter when fat is about right. Our family bought cows when farming did not bring us much. But our fights continue. We spend ₹R50 to produce a liter of milk and we want to be compensated accordingly,” she said.

P. Magizhanathan, another farmer who pays milk to the local cooperative society attached to the Federation, whose popular brand is Aavin, said he never calculates his income from cattle farming because it is too little. “The only positive aspect is that we can sell one cow per year. Herding cattle is hard work and the family must also be fully involved in it day in and day out,” he said.

The last time Aavin raised purchase prices was in 2019 when he agreed to pay an additional ₹4 per liter for cow’s milk with 4.3% fat and 8.2% milk content. solids non fat and ₹6 per liter for buffalo milk with 6% fat and 8.8% solids non fat. At that time, there was also a corresponding increase in the selling price of milk, pointed out MG Rajendran of the Tamil Nadu Milk Farmers Welfare Association, who advocated for a price hike of purchase and a corresponding increase in the sale price.

SA Ponnusamy, chairman of the Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers and Employees Welfare Association, said a hike was badly needed for farmers as well as dealers. “Private brands have already increased their selling prices several times this year and have given dealers and farmers a considerable increase. The commission we get from Aavin is very low,” he said.

A retired official from Aavin said that if the dairy major was to raise the purchase prices, the decision should be made by the state government since it was the government that decided to cut the prices by Rs 3 per liter after taking office. “The government should either provide appropriate compensation or allow Aavin to raise selling prices. Even if Aavin were to raise purchase prices by ₹1 per litre, he would have to spend Rs. 10 crore per month which he cannot afford as many of his syndicates are operating at a loss,” he explained .

Protest in Salem

On Wednesday, members of the Tamil Nadu Milk Farmers Welfare Association staged a protest near the Salem Collector, urging the state government to raise the purchase price of milk and regularize the work of workers in dairy cooperatives.

The farmers said that currently the purchase price of cow and buffalo milk is ₹31 per liter and ₹41 per liter respectively. Since the cost of cattle feed has risen considerably, the purchase price of cow’s milk should be increased to ₹42 per liter and buffalo milk to ₹51 per litre, they added.

Their other demands were regularization of jobs for dairy cooperative workers in all districts, free insurance coverage for all livestock, provision of 50% subsidized fodder to farmers, coverage for all dairy cooperative workers under the medical regime and the payment of farmers according to the quantity and quality of milk.

The protesters wanted the Minister of Milk and Dairy Development, SM Nasar, to meet with them by October 26 to discuss their demands and find a solution. They have threatened to stop supplying milk to companies from October 28 if their livelihoods are not protected.

(With contributions from SP Saravanan)