Pune: The State government will soon formulate a milk policy to regulate the frequent fluctuations in milk prices paid to farmers, said State Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries Mahadev Jankar while addressing a press conference in the city on Friday.
The conference was held to announce various programmes to be organised on the 127th foundation day of the Animal Husbandry Department on May 20. Jankar said that the milk crisis is not the current disposition’s doing. “This is not our sin in the first place. Earlier governments mismanaged the dairy sector, giving leeway to wealthy politicians to infiltrate the industry, both cooperative and private, and this shifted the focus from the farmers’ benefit to private sector’s benefit,” Jankar said.
When asked about the recent milk price agitations and the impending farmers’ strike, Jankar said that he is open to discussion. “The agitators are farmers and their children. We ourselves are farmers’ children and understand their pain. Any problem can be solved with discussion,” Jankar said, adding, “My residence and office in Mumbai are open and accessible to everyone and they should come discuss their issues with me without hesitation.”
“The State has given a Rs 31 crore subsidy to milk powder producers, who will produce 20 per cent more milk powder in comparison to their March production. This was done to absorb the large amount of milk produced in the State and to give the farmers good returns,” said Jankar.
He added that animal husbandry and other supplementary businesses are crucial in preventing farmers’ suicides. “The State government will take out various schemes like promoting artificial insemination of milch animals, linking MGNREGS to cow protection, ensuring feed meal and fodder availability, etc,” said Jankar.