Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha protest for higher milk price and subsidies.
Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha protest for higher milk price and subsidies.

The Maharashtra government is expected to release a package next week to the farmers who are struggling to cope up with the fallen milk prices in the state during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, the Dairy Development Minister Sunil Kedar will lead a delegation of MPs from the state and soon meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of Animal Husbandry Giriraj Singh with a plea to provide subsidy for the export of milk powder.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday chaired a meeting to discuss the issues faced by the milk producers amid rising mismatch between the higher cost of production and lower price. Thackeray has written a letter to PM Modi seeking export subsidy.

Kedar said, “During the pandemic there is a need to think out of the box to help farmers and also to save cows in the state. The Department of Dairy Development at the next cabinet meeting will move a comprehensive package to help farmers.” He informed that he will lead a delegation to Delhi seeking Centre’s help in getting subsidy for milk powder export.

Today’s meeting was held days after various farmer organisations and BJP held protests across Maharashtra demanding higher milk price and export subsidy. This was against the backdrop of fall in milk prices below Rs 20 per litre from Rs 33 per litre because of drastic fall in the consumption during the lockdown.

Maharashtra’s daily milk production capacity is 1.40 crore litre. However, following the fall in demand from hotels, canteens, railways and other establishments the milk production fell to around 70 lakh litres since March onwards. It adversely impacted the milk prices which reduced to Rs 16,17 and 20 in different parts. After the unlocking since June 3, the milk production increased to 80 lakh litre but prices remained low.

The lockdown also impacted the milk power production in the state. State has a daily milk powder production capacity of 300 tonnes.

Kedar said the state government procured 5.94 crore litre milk from farmers during April-July at Rs 22.10 to Rs 27 per litre and produced 4927.702 metric tonnes of milk powder. More than 171 metric tonnes of butter was also produced. This was done to help farmers. He informed at today’s meeting it was decided to provide milk powder free to 6.51 lakh children and 1.21 lakh pregnant and lactating mothers. The scheme will be implemented for one year at a production cost of Rs 121 crore. The production cost of powder will be Rs 246.70 per kg. The decision was taken as the protein content of milk powder is 34% and as it is useful for nutrition during this period, it will be of great benefit to the lactating lactating and pregnant mothers.

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Free Press Journal