As a result of falling demand, milk farmers are being forced to sell their produce at Rs 16-17 per litre to dairies.
The Maharashtra government will on Tuesday meet representatives of various farmer organizations and dairies to resolve the issue of falling prices of milk because of renewed lockdown in several parts of the state.
As a result of falling demand, milk farmers are being forced to sell their produce at Rs 16-17 per litre to dairies. Several farmer organisations have called for suspension of milk procurement on Tuesday and August 1 to protest against the drop in prices.
Maharashtra has about 46 lakh milk producing farmers and milk dairies. Dairies earlier purchased milk at Rs 33-34 per litre, but are now paying Rs 16-18 after the Covid outbreak. Milk producers said they are being paid Rs 10-15 less than their cost prices.
Milk sales have dropped by around 40% in the lockdown period, according to Raju Shetti of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS). The SSS has sought a special package to offset farmers’ losses.
Farmer bodies have also opposed the decision of the Centre to import 10,000 tonne of milk powder when Maharashtra alone has around 50,000 tonne of excess milk powder.
“About 86 lakh litre of milk is sold in pouches. But due to lockdown, this sale has come down to 67 lakh litre per day. The state government is purchasing 5 lakh litre milk to help farmers, but still there is 47 lakh litre of excess milk. This has affected procurement prices and has added to the burden of farmers,” Shetti said. He has demanded a Rs 535-crore package from the state government exclusively for milk producers, through which Rs 5 per litre will be credited to the farmers’ accounts for the next three months.