Pune: Expressing frustration at the ignorance shown by the State government regarding the issue of paying declared rate of Rs 27 per litre of milk to farmers, the milk producers - who are currently protesting by distributing all of their milk for free from May 3 - have threatened to gather in thousands outside Mantralaya in Mumbai after May 9.
Dairy farmers have long argued that their produce needs to be paid better. Experts agree that dairy is one of the most important subsidiary supplements to agriculture and can be a crucial support system in times of agrarian distress. The government decided in June 2017 that Rs 27 per litre should be paid for milk, but dairies across the State have been paying farmers Rs 18 to 20 per litre only.
‘Govt is looting’
Ajit Nawale, the emerging farming leader, said, “If they want to be shameless and loot the farmers, we will gather at Mantralaya and ask them to shamelessly take our produce for free.”
He said the middlemen are looting the farmers in the name of the urban consumer, but don’t pass on the benefit to the buyers.
Milk powder production
While the dairy industry claims that milk prices have dropped because of overproduction of milk powder in the country, Nawale said these are false claims.
“The milk distributed is actually twice the milk collected from us. This means there is large scale adultery. When milk is taken from us, it is of 3.5 fat content, but when is reaches the consumer, it is not even 1.5 in fat content and lacks nutrients,” Nawale said.
He said the dairies derive 850% profit per litre of milk.
Girish Mahajan, State Minister for Water Resources and Medical Education said the government kept its word for 80 per cent things they promised to the farmers. “Farmers in the dairy industry are unhappy but their questions will be taken up very soon. Just because this government agrees to every demand does not mean that the government should be threatened. Our government is sensitive and so the demands of the people have increased,” said Mahajan.