Kochi: A Kerala-based milk producer and processor,Milgram Milk Specialities Pvt. Ltd, plans to set up a “dairy village” on a 600-acre tea estate by enticing investors who will be offered land and cattle in return for their money.
The company hopes to raise Rs34.43 crore from investors for the project located in the Peerumedu hills of Kerala’s Idukki district. An investor can own up to 5 acres—and 10 to 40 cows—with a minimum investment of Rs22.95 lakh for a base unit of 2.5 acres.
Milgram has already sold 40 units out of a possible 150 in the Mlamala tea plantation it bought in December 2006, with assured returns for investors from the first year, said Korah John, its managing director.
The dairy development company, which will have facilities such as milk collection centres and a chilling plant, plans to expand operations in the district in two years to produce about 500,000 litres of milk daily. Money raised from investors will help finance the expansion.
Milgram plans to set up 250 milk collection units in Idukki in two years, involving 25,000 farmers, with an investment of Rs500 crore, said John.
The Idukki project is proposed on the lines of an existing Kochi-based dairy farm, with milk collected directly from centres set up by the company for local cattle owners. Milgram will also provide technical assistance to dairy farmers.
Milk production in Kerala is estimated at about 5.33 million litres a day, or 55% of the state’s total requirement. To make up for the shortage, Kerala depends on milk from neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states.
Milgram already claims a daily average yield of 10-12 litres per cow, against the state’s average of 6-7 litres. Cows raised in Idukki’s hilly terrain are expected to produce even more milk, averaging about 2,600 litres over a lactation yield period of 305 days for a cow, John said. The average for the state of Kerala is 2,000 litres.
The tea plantation will continue to exit. Tending to the tea bushes in the estate has already increased green tea leaf plucking to 5,000kg a day, from 650kg a day, which was the yield when the plantation was taken over. John hopes to increase plucking to 15,000kg in two months, for potential production of 750kg of processed tea per day.
The company also plans to grow and sell packaged organic tea from the estate after improving its production facilities to increase yield and better quality, offering additional income to its investors, John said.