‘Ban milk brands from other states like Amul’

ST Correspondent
Friday, 11 May 2018

District milk body meets over milk crisis; will go to SC if govt fails to address issues

Pune: The Milk Producers and Processors Welfare Union, a body of both cooperative and private dairy organisations in the State, has declared that it will oppose the sale of milk from other states, including brands like Amul and Nandini, citing unfair competition. 

The body met at the Pune Zilla Sahkari Doodh Utpadak Sangh at Katraj in the wake of the ongoing milk crisis to discuss the situation and decide further strategy.  The body also discussed a proposal to lower the MRP of packed milk and formation of a unified brand of all organisations in the union.

Unfair competition
“When Mahanand, the brand run by Maharashtra Rajya Sahkari Dudh Mahasangh, tried to sell its milk in Gujarat, local goons attacked officials and workers and made the brand leave the market. Yet, subisidised milk produced at a cheaper rate in Gujarat and Karnataka brands like Amul and Nandini are allowed to capture the markets in our state,” said Vinayak Patil of the Rajarambapu Dairy and the President of the Union.
“This is a violation of competition when our brands are made to share markets with other state’s subsidised milk.”

Patil also underlined other issues faced by milk producers in the state and said, “Karnataka gives Rs 5 subsidy to their dairy farmers. Hence, procurement becomes cheaper. The State also purchases milk powder to be distributed to 1.15 crore school children as a part of mid-day meal,” he added. 

Wrong image
Among other suggestions that came up at the meeting, were suggestions like lowering the selling price of packet milk, forming a single marketing brand for members of the union, giving subsidies to state farmers directly and regularising state milk sector through proper management. “A wrong image is being spread about milk producers that we indulge in adulteration and malpractice due to the difference in procurement price and selling price. We need to lower the selling price to send a right message to customers at least to correct that image,” said Prakash Kutwal, Chairman of Kutwal Foods.

“We are crushed between the payment of procurement and haphazard policy. If the government continues to ignore our issues, we will approach the SC for justice,”  Patil said.

‘Necessary to save state co-ops’
 Dairy farmers in the State have been in a tug of war with the dairy producers and the government over the non-payment of the declared rate of Rs 27 per litre for milk. 
 The representatives of the body said that banning milk from other states is a necessary step to save State co-ops.
 Union’s president Vinayak Patil said, “Maharashtra has almost 27,000 tonnes of milk powder lying unsold. This government has no idea how to handle this sector.”
 The union is planning to meet with former Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on May 12 to lead a delegation which will discuss the issue with the chief minister.
 The union wants the government to explain how to implement the Rs 3 subsidy that the State announced per litre of milk, used to produce 20% more milk powder in March.

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