In a new flashpoint involving India’s dairy corporations, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah to instruct Gujarat-based dairy giant Amul to cease milk procurement activities in Tamil Nadu immediately.
In a letter to Mr. Shah, Mr. Stalin expressed concern about the implications of milk collection by the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union, commonly known as Amul, in the milk-producing regions of Tamil Nadu, which could affect Aavin, the Tamil Nadu Dairy Cooperative. Producers Federation.
The Tamil Nadu government recently discovered that Amul has been using its multi-state cooperative license to set up cooling centers and a processing plant in Krishnagiri district, according to Stalin.
He added that Amul intends to procure milk through Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupatur, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts of Tamil Nadu.
The Chief Minister stressed that it has been standard practice to allow cooperatives to prosper without encroaching on each other’s milk production areas.
Such cross-buying contravenes the spirit of ‘Operation White Flood’ and could worsen the current milk shortage in the country, affecting consumers, he said, noting that Amul’s actions infringe on Aavin’s dairy-producing area.
“It has been the norm in India to allow cooperatives to prosper without infringing on the area of each other’s milk sheds. Such cross-buying goes against the spirit of ‘Operation White Flood’ and will exacerbate problems for consumers given the “milk shortage scenario prevailing in the country. This act by Amul infringes on the Aavin milk shed area, which has been nurtured with a true cooperative spirit for decades,” the Chief Minister wrote.
Stalin expressed concern that this move by Amul would foster unhealthy competition between the cooperatives involved in the procurement and marketing of milk and milk products.
“Regional cooperatives have been the cornerstone of dairy development in the states and are better equipped to interact with and support producers, as well as protect consumers from arbitrary price increases,” he wrote.
“I therefore request your immediate intervention to order Amul to stop purchasing milk from the Aavin dairy production area in Tamil Nadu immediately,” Stalin declared.
Stalin clarified that, until now, Amul only sold its products in Tamil Nadu through its outlets. He noted that Tamil Nadu, like other states with strong dairy cooperatives, has effectively maintained a three-tier dairy cooperative system since 1981 for the benefit of rural milk producers and consumers.
According to Mr. Stalin, “Aavin, our main cooperative marketing federation, oversees 9,673 Milk Producer Cooperative Societies in rural areas. They source 35 LLPD of milk from some 450,000 members. This agreement guarantees milk producers uniform prices and profitable throughout the year.”
Aavin also offers various resources such as cattle feed, fodder, mineral mixes, and animal husbandry and health care services to improve and maintain milk production in Tamil Nadu. In addition, it ensures the supply of high-quality milk and milk products to consumers at some of the lowest prices in the country. Therefore, Aavin plays a crucial role in improving the livelihoods of rural dairy farmers and meeting the nutritional needs of consumers, he wrote.