Fri, 08 Jun 2018
INDIA - Since August, dairies have started slashing procurement price for farmers, as they cited a slump in global prices of Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) and imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on byproducts.
The Indian Express reports that a month since the Maharashtra state government announced a special package to help dairy farmers realise better prices for milk, farmers continue to face the effects of low prices. In some parts of the state, farmers claimed that the dairies have slashed procurement in the past few weeks.
In June last year, the state government had increased the procurement price of milk, with 3.5 per cent fat and 8.5 per cent solid not fat (SNF), to Rs 27 per litre. Since August, dairies have started slashing procurement price for farmers, as they cited a slump in global prices of Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) and imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on byproducts. Now, dairy farmers in the state are being paid between Rs 17 and Rs 25 per litre.
Affected by the low prices, the farmers started protesting in May by distributing milk free of cost. Lakhganga village in Aurangabad’s Vaijapur taluka had passed a gram sabha resolution to that effect. The All India Kisan Sabha had started a month-long agitation in the state to protest against low realisation of milk. Following the agitations, Mahadev Jankar, the state minister for dairy development, fisheries and animal husbandry announced a Rs 32 crore special package aimed at increasing farmers’ earnings.
Under the scheme, SMP producers were to be given a subsidy of Rs 3 per litre, provided they managed to exceed their normal production by 20 per cent. The scheme that was to run for a month wraps up on Monday with the state recording around 13,000 metric tonnes of SMP so far. However, both dairies and farmers said there has been no effect on the procurement price.
Dhananjay Dhorde, member of the body that spearheaded the protest, said most farmers continue getting the same price. “It has come to our notice that in some cases, the dairies have gone ahead and reduced the procurement price by Re 1 or so,” he said. Dhorde said the scheme has had no effect on the ground.
Internationally, SMP prices continue to be unfeasible for exports. Vinayakrao Patil, chairman of the Milk Producers and Processors Welfare Organisation, demanded a subsidy scheme to help dairies export the SMP. “We hope for a quick resolution of the problem,” he said.