Farmers upset as dairies decrease milk collectionDairy farmers in western Nawalparasi are hugely worried as they have not been able to sell their milk because buyers have declared a milk holiday even during the ‘off season’ when production is slow.
Dairy farmers in western Nawalparasi are hugely worried as they have not been able to sell their milk because buyers have declared a milk holiday even during the ‘off season’ when production is slow.
Local milk collection centres and cooperatives, which supply milk to Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) and other dairies, are buying less milk from farmers. DDC and other firms have announced that they will not be able to buy milk for two days in a week.
Farmers are preparing to launch a protest against the decision saying that DDC and other dairy firms had declared a milk holiday, a period when dairies do not purchase milk from farmers because supply exceeds demand.
Farmers who have invested in the dairy business are worried, said Kamal Dhakal, a dairy farmer in Bardaghat. Many farmers who were happy with the federal and local governments’ decision to provide concessional loans and incentives based on production now fear that their investment could be at a risk.
Dhakal, who returned home after spending five years abroad as a migrant worker, rears 10 cows and two buffalos. He produces 150 litres of milk daily. “I have poured all my earnings and even took loans to expand my dairy farm. Now demand for milk has dropped,” said Dhakal, expressing fear that he may lose his investment.
The largest buyers, state-owned DDC and private company Sitaram Gokul Milks, informed local milk collection centres and cooperatives two weeks ago that they would not be able to procure milk from farmers on a daily basis.
Chandrodaya Multipurpose Cooperatives in Bardaghat Municipality is the major milk collection centre which collects 6,000 litres of milk daily during the off season through its four collection centres. Of the total collection, 40 percent is consumed in the local market and the rest by DDC and Sitaram Gokul Milks.
During the peak season, the cooperative collects over 10,000 litres of milk daily. As demand for milk has dropped during the off season, farmers and cooperatives are worried about their prospects during the peak season too.
“It’s worrisome. Farmers were encouraged to produce more milk; and when they did so, they have declared a milk holiday,” said Purna Prasad Timilsina, chairman of Chandrodaya Multipurpose Cooperatives. “This kind of policy will not make the country self-sufficient in milk. Farmers will not get proper prices either,” he said, adding that there was no market guarantee for farm produce.
Bhumahi Milk Producers’ Cooperative in Sunwal Municipality has a similar problem. The cooperative which collects milk for Lumbini Dairy has slashed collection from farmers. “It’s ironic that the government provides a production subsidy of Rs1 per litre of milk, but farmers are forced to dump it on the streets,” said Deepak Sharma, a local at Sunwal.
“Why is the government silent when big firms buy milk when they need it and abruptly cancel orders in the name of low demand in the market?”