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Dairy farmers in Chitwan set to protest

  • It is the first protest in nearly eight years by dairy farmers
- RAMESH KUMAR POUDEL, CHITWAN
There are 156 dairy cooperatives in Chitwan alone. About 100,000 farmers supply milk to these cooperatives

Aug 12, 2018-Farmers and milk cooperatives based in Chitwan have blamed the Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) of not being farmer friendly. The farmers expressed such views during a gathering organised in the district on Friday to launch the protest against the DDC’s latest move to slash the commission it was providing to dairy cooperatives involved in milk collection.  

Recently the state-owned corporation slashed the commission it was offering to dairy cooperatives from Rs 6.92 to Rs 3 per litre of milk. Out of the total commission, the cooperatives were offering Rs 3 for each litre of milk to farmers while the rest was kept by the cooperatives.

In the gathering organised by Chitwan Milk Producers Cooperatives Association, participants decided to force the DDC to back track from its decision through a protest.

“We should not resort to violent protest, but we must force the corporation to back track from its decision by picketing its offices in Hetauda and Kathmandu,” said Dilli Prasad Thapaliya, chairman of coordination committee of Milk Producers Cooperatives of Rapti Municipality. “Dairy farmers have not launched any kind of protest in the last eight years but DDC’s decision has left us with no choice.”  

While DDC backed its decision saying the lower commission will be used to provide subsidies in cattle feed, farmers refuted the claim, calling such subsidies useless.

“We rely on fodder based cattle rearing as encouraged by the government,” said Bhagirath Timilsina, chairman of Central Dairy Cooperative Association of Nepal. “The DDC’s plan doesn’t align with government’s policy and our practice.” Other farmers present in the gathering warned of launching sterner protests if the authorities failed to address their problem.

DDC collects milk from around 1,100 dairy cooperatives across the country. It sells 150,000 litres of milk daily. DDC holds a 40 percent market share for milk. Last August, the state-owned enterprise raised the price of milk by Rs4-10 per litre, stating that around 71 percent of the money would go directly to farmers. There are 156 dairy cooperatives in Chitwan alone. About 100,000 farmers supply milk to these cooperatives.

At present, the country is experiencing a milk holiday after almost nine years as dairies stopped buying milk from farmers citing excess supply. The glut has been attributed to an increase in the number of milk farmers going into commercial production. It has affected milk producers in almost all parts of the country.

Published: 12-08-2018 09:38

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