Dairy farmers demand increase in milk prices

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Dairy farmers demand increase in milk prices

Dec 9, 2014-

The Central Dairy Cooperative on Tuesday asked the government to raise the procurement price of milk saying that a steep hike in fodder prices had increased their production cost.

The cooperative, an umbrella organization of farmers, warned of launching various protest programmes if the government did not ramp up prices soon.

On Tuesday, the cooperative submitted a memorandum spelling out its demand to the Ministry of Agricultural Development and the Nepal Dairy Development Board.

Narayan Devkota, president of the cooperative, said they had been losing Rs 12.98 on a litre of milk at the current price fixed by the government.

“The production cost of a litre of milk in Makwanpur, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kavre and Sindhupalchok districts is Rs 49.98, but producers are getting only Rs 37,” Devkota said. “The government has not accorded priority to the dairy sector, and isolating it will not help to make Nepal self-reliant in milk.”  

State-owned Diary Development Corporation (DDC) has been procuring milk from India by paying Rs 50 per litre, but they pay less to local farmers, Devkota said. “The pricing policy has discouraged milk producers, and many of them could abandon this work in the future if things are not straightened out.”

According to the cooperative, farmers have been supplying 400,000 litres of milk worth Rs 20 million daily across the country through 64 cooperatives. However, the daily requirement is estimated to be 600,000 litres. Around 200,000 people are directly and indirectly involved in the dairy sector, said the cooperative.

Prices of animal feed, grass, medicine and labour, among other inputs, have increased 20-25 percent over the year, but the milk price has remained the same, the producers said. “So we have demanded that the government increase the price as per the higher production cost,” said Babu Ram Adhikari, vice-president of the cooperative.

In March, the government had raised the procurement price by Rs 4 per litre. Following the hike, DDC jacked up prices of non-skimmed and skimmed milk by Rs 6 and Rs 8 per litre respectively. Private dairies also followed suit by hiking their rates by Rs 6 per litre.

Babu Kaji Pant, executive director of the Nepal Dairy Development Board, said they had taken the cooperative’s demand seriously, and would study it in coordination with the ministry. “We have received the memorandum from the producers, and we will decide whether to increase prices after conducting a study.”

 

Published: 10-12-2014 11:12

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