maharashtra subsidy may br a non starter dairynews7x7

Private dairies account for 70 per cent of the 1.25 crore litres of milk collected daily in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s announcement of a Rs 5/litre subsidy for dairy farmers can become a non-starter, according to the industry.

The industry said that excluding private dairies and a pre-qualifier base rate of Rs 29/litre to the farmers will see this scheme failing to take off in the first place.

Vikhe Patil, while responding on the floor of the Assembly in Nagpur, announced the scheme where the state government would pay dairy farmers Rs 5/litre as a subsidy. Tukaram Munde, the secretary of the animal husbandry department, posted on X that only cooperative dairies who are paying a base price of Rs 29/litre to their farmers for milk with 3.2 per cent fat and 8.3 per cent solid not fat (SNF) would be eligible. To qualify for the scheme, farmers should have their animals tagged with a unique identification number.

With private dairies accounting for 70 per cent of the 1.25 crore litres of milk collected daily in Maharashtra, the scheme thus leaves out a majority of the farmers.

Ajit Nawale, secretary of the Kisan Sabha, the farmer’s wing of CPI(M), was quick to say the scheme would not help dairy farmers in the state. “One of the conditions to qualify for the scheme is that the base payment would be Rs 29. At present, even the Baramati Taluka Cooperative Milk Union, which is controlled by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, is paying Rs 26/litre for milk with 3.5 per cent fat and 8.5 per cent SNF. This base price condition would disqualify almost all the cooperative players in the state,” he said.

Barring the Kolhapur District Cooperative Milk Producers Union, the cooperative dairy that owns the brand Gokul, most cooperatives in Maharashtra do not have substantial milk collection figures.

A private dairy player mentioned that most cooperative dairy companies channel their excess milk to private dairy companies. “The scheme has been made without considering ground reality,” the dairy owner said.

For the last few months, dairy farmers in Maharashtra have complained of low prices, which has seen them going on multiple agitations. Most dairies are paying farmers anything between Rs 26-27/litre. Excess supplies and low uptake of dairy products like lassi and ice cream have led dairies to slash their prices.

Following multiple agitations, the state government announced the subsidy scheme to help farmers in the ongoing Assembly session.

Source : The Indian Express Dec 22nd 2023 by Partha Sarathi Biswas

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