Agri Business

Covid-19: Why are Maharashtra’s milk farmers angry?

Our Bureau Pune | Updated on August 11, 2020

Post lockdowns, milk cooperatives and other buyers have slashed procurement prices, much to the farmers’ chagrin

Covid-19 has triggered a war between milk producer-farmers and cooperatives in Maharashtra. As cooperatives have slashed purchase rate for the milk procurement, farmers have demanded the State’s intervention.

Farmers complain that out of the 1.19 crore litres of milk produced daily in the State, about 47 lakh litres remain unsold. Recently, various farmers’ organisations held agitations but in vain. As milk politics simmers to a boil in the State, farmers still await concrete assurance from the government.

Earlier, 86 lakh litres of milk are sold in pouches every day, but with lockdowns in force and small hotels and restaurants closed, this sell has come down to 67 lakh litres per day. The State government is purchasing 5 lakh litres milk to help farmers, but there is still an excess of 47 lakh litres.

Maharashtra has about 46 lakh milk producer-farmers. Milk dairies which earlier purchased milk at ₹33-34 per litre, have reduced the procurement price to ₹18-19 per litre after the Covid-19 outbreak. The State government has fixed the production cost of buffalo milk to ₹37.50.

A cow-milk producer farmer spends about ₹27-28 to produce 1 litre of milk, which he now sells at at ₹16-17 per litre post the frequent lockdowns since March.

Shetkari Sanghatana President Anil Ghanwat said that farmers are not even able to recover production costs for buffalo and cow milk. He alleged that politicos controlling milk cooperatives are unwilling to support farmers in the hour of crisis.

Former MP and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raju Shetti said that the government must not test the patience of farmers and take immediate steps to address the concerns.

Published on August 11, 2020

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