Gujarat dairy farmers are in a fix as after the recent fluctuation in the price of cotton and groundnut, it now turns for the milk. The drop in price for farmers is seen after a fall in the global skimmed milk powder (SMP) rates. This crash in SMP paired with the increased price of procurement by dairy unions has led to the abundance of milk with the dairy unions reports The Indian Express. The Rajkot district dairy union has dropped the procurement price paid to its farmers considerably from Rs 647 to Rs 560 per kg of fat. The fall in price is seen in the last two months. Hence, for milk obtained from buffalo which has about 6 per cent fat and 9 per cent SNF (solids-not-fat) equals to a reduction from Rs 39.98 to Rs 34.61 per liter. And from cow, the price fell from Rs 30.55 to Rs 26.45 which has about 3.5 per cent fat and 8.5 per cent SNF.
The Rajkot union has justified its procurement operations. Govindbhai Ranpariya, chairman of Rajkot union said, “We collect milk twice every day from our 761 village societies. However, we shall now not procure in the morning once every week for all societies by rotation.” The Rajkot union has stopped collecting from 47 societies that were together supplying around 45,000 liters daily. This has been done on “suspicion” that their milk is being poured mainly by traders, which could also have quality implications.
The union chairman, Ranpariya has called the measures taken by his union as unavoidable. The Rajkot union is procuring around 4.5 lakh kg per day (LKPD). And from that around 60,000 LKPD is sent to Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation. “The federation is unable to handle this surplus milk and has asked us to rationalise our supply,” Ranpariya said.
However, the story is same from other areas of Gujarat as well. Kutch milk union, which is now collecting 5 LKPD, has since the start of this month reduced its price paid to farmers from Rs 660 to Rs 600 per kg fat. The Porbandar union which procures 4.75 LKPD, has cut its price from Rs 580 to Rs 540 per kg fat. The Saurashtra region’s biggest union, Surendranagar, with 7.2 LKPD of procurement at present, is paying Rs 580 per kg fat, below the Rs 610 rate two months back and Rs 650 five months ago.
Dairy farmers in Gujarat, till recently, were relatively insulated from the crisis faced by those growing cotton, groundnut or potatoes. That has, however, changed over the last couple of months, with district unions bringing down procurement prices — more so, after elections to the state assembly in early December.