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Manapparai’s milk khova has a niche clientèle

The demand for milk khova prepared and sold by the Manapparai Milk Producers’ Cooperative Society has been quite steady for decades.

Almost every day, customers turn up in time to purchase the khova that the society chooses to call as ‘paal peda,’ at its sales counter along Kovilpatti Road. By afternoon, the entire quantity of around 40 to 50 kg is sold out.

The demand has sustained by word of mouth. Regular customers are from Manapparai and its surroundings as well as repeat buyers passing through the town, society sources said.

Yet, the society has no plans to increase the output from the present level. In fact, it is not in a position to do so, as the supply of native ‘Murrah’ breed buffalo milk with which the special khova is made is limited.

Though the society is among the most vibrant ones in the district accounting for production of about 21,000 litres of milk a day, the supply of buffalo milk is less than 100 litres. Hence, the society is constrained to confine the production level, says its secretary Thangavelu. Cattle rearers supplying milk to the society have not made any attempt to increase the number of buffaloes since rearing them is tough when compared to cows, he pointed out.

There is a special reason, or rather reasons for the distinct taste of the khova. Mr. Thangavelu explains: “The milk sourced from the native breed buffalo is converted into khova within hours of extraction, early in the morning, well before the natural aroma diminishes. And, the milk is stirred on a pan heated by firewood. Another important reason for the pure taste is that no other ingredient other than sugar is used to make the product.”

Manapparai Milk Cooperative Society is unable to meet the demand for the khova it makes.Special Arrangements

Even with the limited milk supply, the economics in conversion works out very well for the society, since the khova is sold for Rs. 400 per kg. The entire quantity of the creamy buffalo milk procured for Rs. 35 a litre is used exclusively for conversion into khova. About 30 kg khova is made with the daily supply during summer months, and up to 50 kg is produced during winter season, Mr. Thangavel says.

The society has not been successful in replicating the procedure of making khova using cow milk. “We tried it and dropped the idea as the product became sticky,” he said.

But, it has plans to produce other products out of cow milk such as curd and buttermilk.

The society sells not less than 8,000 litres of milk locally every day, after supplying 12,000 to 13,000 litres to Aavin.

Cow milk procured for Rs. 28 per litre is sold for Rs. 34. Revenue generation would go up significantly if a portion is converted into curd and butter milk, Mr. Thangavelu said.

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