Pune: With Amul and Mother Dairy announcing a hike in prices of milk, private and cooperative dairies in the State are likely increase the price as well. After the State government has stopped paying a subsidy of Rs 5/litre to milk producing farmers from April 30, private and board members of cooperative dairies are hinting that prices are likely to go up.
Regional Dairy Development Officer Prashant Mohod said, “Subsidy has been stopped due to the increase in the price of skimmed milk powder (SMP) and white butter. Earlier, the price ofr SMP was Rs 110 per kg while it has gone up to Rs 220 now. The rate of white butter has also increased from Rs 140 per kg to Rs 220-250. Five-six days ago, the Dairy Development Department Maharashtra) has appealed to private and cooperative dairies to give farmers Rs 25 per litre.
However, there seems to be a division of opinion on this issue, as a few dairy owners and associations feel that there is no need to increase the price as they are earning a good margin.
Stating that increase in the rate of SMP and butter has not resulted in much profit for them, Shripad Chitale said, “Earlier we used to pay Rs 20 to the farmers and the government was paying a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre. Since May 1, the government has stopped the subsidy but we have decided that we will give Rs 25 to the farmers from June 1. Also, due to the drought situation all over the country, the cost of fodder has increased. Therefore, a Rs 2 hike in milk rate can be expected from June 1.”
Vinayak B Patil, President of State Milk Cooperative Union Organisation, said that the rise in milk prices is expected. He said, “Till January 31, Rs 5 subsidy was given by the government which was reduced to Rs 3 and eventually stopped after April 30. Currently, we were giving Rs 23 per litre to the farmers but, there is also a reduction in the procurement of milk by 20 per cent and the cost of fodder has also increased.
Owing to these reasons, we have decided to give Rs 25 per litre to the farmers from June 1.”
There may be a rise in the retail price of milk because of the above mentioned reason but the final decision will be taken by the members during a meeting which is likely to be held on May 31, added Patil.
Vivek Ksheersagar, Managing Director, Katraj Dairy, said, “Amul and Mother Dairy are bigger brands and they keep on increasing prices for the expansion of the business. However, small players like us cannot increase the rates as there is strong competition in the market with 200 more players. At present, I do not see the need for increasing prices. However, the final decision will be taken at the board of directors’ meeting.”
Prakash Kutwal, Secretary of Maharashtra Milk Federation, feels that there is no need to increase the price. He said, “The cost of Amul milk was Rs 42 earlier and they give Rs 27 to the farmers, hence they have increased the price to Rs 44. Even though the subsidy has stopped since April 30, there is no need to increase the price of milk as we are selling pouch milk for Rs 44 per litre while we need to pay Rs 25 to the farmers.”
Stating that the State government should find a better and an effective solution for this problem, Ajit Navale, State Secretary of All India Kisan, said, “There is no need to increase the price of milk or burden the consumers. Usually, these private dairies and cooperative companies keep on increasing the prices for their own profit as there is no control from the government on the procurement of milk.”