Print Edition - 2015-04-24 | MONEY
Chitwan overtakes Kavre as largest milk producer
Apr 23, 2015-
According to the Chitwan Milk Producers Cooperatives Association, there are 151 milk cooperatives in the district with a membership of more than 35,000 small farmers. “Out of these cooperatives, 148 are associated with the association,” said Binod Khatiwada, manager of the association.
He added that the association collects 200,000 litres of milk daily from these cooperatives. The district consumes 35,000 litres daily while the rest is shipped to Kathmandu, Pokhara and Hetauda. Farmers earn Rs40 per litre of milk. “Improved breeding programmes launched by the government have made a positive impact on milk production,” said Ram Kumar Karki, chief of the office.
“The breeding programme has helped increased the productivity of dairy cattle,” he said, adding that more farmers in the district had been encouraged to rear cattle.
Despite the increase in milk production, farmers complain that they are forced to compete with imported products from India. “We are worried that local production will not get buyers,” said Ek Narayan Poudel, a local farmer of Ratnanagar-5.
“The government has not made any efforts to ensure a market for local products. I sell 20 litres of milk daily through the cooperatives,” said Poudel who owns five milk cows.
Meanwhile, local dairy farmers have become greatly concerned by the deteriorating condition of Chitwan Milk, the largest milk powder plant in Nepal.
The district has not had a milk holiday since the plant was established. There used to be frequent milk holidays in Chitwan as a result of swelling output amid low demand.
The number of milk producers in the district shot up following the establishment of the plant. However, the plant is teetering on the brink of collapse as it has not been able to compete with imported products.
The factory was established in 2009 as a public-private partnership in Thimur, Bharatpur. It produces skimmed milk powder, baby food and other high value products such as yogurt, butter and ghee.
Recently, Agriculture Minister Hari Prasad Parajuli had said the government planned to make the country self-reliant in milk by the next three years. He added that the government would set aside Rs8 billion in the budget for the next fiscal year to support commercialisation of agriculture and milk production.
Parajuli said a revolving fund of Rs200 million would be set up to issue loans to agricultural cooperatives to promote commercial agriculture including dairy farming. The dairy sector in Nepal provides direct employment to 12,000 people and the industry has an investment of Rs15 billion.
Published: 24-04-2015 10:52