Agri Business

Maharashtra dairy farmers to observe 1-day protest on Aug 1

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on July 30, 2020

The government invited about 60 top dairy stakeholders for consultation

The dairy farmers in Maharashtra have decided to observe a one-day strike on August 1, by not sending their milk to the village level milk collection centres. The protest is against low procurement rates of cooperative and private dairies.

Framer leaders leading the agitation want at least ₹30 per litre rate for cow milk and ₹40/litre for buffalo milk, which was being paid before the lockdown.

The strike is a sign of further escalation of the agitation. About ten days ago, dairy farmers in the districts of Ahmednagar, Sangli and Kolhapur had protested by dumping milk on the streets.

Ajit Navale, General Secretary ( Maharashtra) of All India Kisan Sabha, told BusinessLine that the farmers today are getting rates as low as ₹16 in some districts. The private and cooperative dairies are buying milk at low rates but they are not passing the low prices to the end consumers. A large volume of milk by these dairies is being converted into milk powder, which they will eventually sell at massive margins, he said.

Navale, who is also the convenor of 11 farmers organisations, said that difference between the procured rate of the dairies and ₹30/litre, which is the demand of the farmers should be borne by the State Government. “For example, if a dairy buys milk at ₹20 then the difference of ₹10 in the form of subsidy should go directly to the bank account of the farmers,” he said.

Navale said that earlier the Maharashtra Government had announced that it would be procuring 10 lakh litres per day but it only procured 6 lakh litres that too for a limited time. After August 1, depending on the response of the Sena Government, the farmers’ organisations would further formulate their strategy.

In Maharashtra, the prolonged lockdown, closure of restaurants, tea stalls and confectionery shops has led to a major reduction in the consumption of milk. On an average, 1.25 crore litres of milk is produced every day in the State.

Published on July 30, 2020

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