Mon, 07 May 2018
INDIA - An online cattle trading platform launched by the Malabar Rural Development Foundation (MRDF), a concern of Milma, has failed to attract dairy farmers for various reasons including their reluctance to give up age-old traditional trading practices.
Last year, the Milma authorities were hopeful that the project, www. pasukkada.com, which had remained sluggish since its launch three years before, would finally make a mark among dairy farmers in Malabar after the Centre notified its controversial order banning sale of animals for slaughter in livestock market.
Despite the publicity made through the 1,200 village-level cooperative societies registered under the Malabar Regional Milk Producers’ Union in Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Palakkad districts, the business model did not go well with farmers.
Only 152 farmers, out of over one lakh, had registered with the online programme till 31 March 2017. In three years, a mere 47 cows were traded through the online platform, which is aimed at eliminating intermediaries.
Sources said 90 per cent of trading had taken place in the Palakkad region. The remaining is shared among Kozhikode, Kannur and Malappuram districts where only buying took place. Not a single bull was traded though the website has an option for buying and selling oxen.
The reasons are manifold since dairy farmers stick to the age-old traditional trading practices like relying on middlemen after paying a commission ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for breeds such as Holstein Friesian and Jersey.
Farmers buying cows from markets in Tamil Nadu have also contributed to the failure of the project. Interestingly, even a few Vechur cows, said to be the world’s smallest cows, were put on sale online.
MRDF chief executive officer K. Damodaran Nair told The Hindu on Thursday that the concept of online trading was yet to reach dairy farmers.
"Also, we need to make the website farmer- friendly. Around 80 per cent of societies are computerised, but farmers may not be using the net facility," he said.
According to him, steps should be taken to devise ways to shed farmers’ fear of technology.
"We are now offering incentives to them and have done away with the registration fee of Rs 300," Mr Nair said.