Dairy farmers seek MSP for milk

Dairy farmers have urged the government to set a minimum support price (MSP) for milk.

Last year when markets were abundantly supplied, cooperative and private dairies paid Rs 19-20 for a litre of milk to farmers. This price resulted in a loss of Rs 2-5 a litre for farmers. 

Cooperatives and private dairies are now paying Rs 25-30 for a litre of milk against a cost of production of Rs 20-25 a litre. But milk production has started falling with a gradual increase in temperature and farmers face an uncertain income.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 45th Dairy Industry Conference on climate change on Thursday, Arun Patil, chairman, Indian Dairy Association (west zone), said, “The government intervenes in pulses, onion and other commodities, then why not in dairy? Dairy farmers borrow from banks for purchase of high-yielding cows and buffaloes. In case of a sharp fall in milk prices, farmers sell their animals. When prices improve, they again borrow to buy animals. This cycle results in massive losses for farmers.”

He added that the government should engage organisations like Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) for procuring additional milk to produce skimmed milk. Despite India being the largest producer of milk, its share in the world market stands at less than 1 per cent.

Addressing the inaugural session, Arun D Narke, president, Indian Dairy Association, said, “To make the dairy business profitable, farmers need at least 50 per cent more than their cost of milk production. Also, cooperative and private dairies should pay farmers in time.” 

India is self-sufficient in milk with an estimated production of 156 million tonnes in 2015-16. The country’s milk production has grown by around 10 million tonnes every year over the last five years. But India could lose 3 million tonnes of milk every year due to climate change because of a gradual rise in temperature and widening differences between day and night temperatures. 

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