Punjab

Lockdown ruined the milk producers, would not recover for long

Raghbir Singh Brar | April 02, 2020 07:05 PM

“We have halved our purchase, it has led us to reduction of our profit by 50 per cent, however, we are not paying out of our pockets, but farmers are all the losers, who are paying out of their pocket instead of any profit”said Harpreet Singh Khalsa, president of milkman union Faridkot.

Only half of the milk is being procured from the milk producers by milkmen.All the dairies are shut.

 Faridkot: The curfew in the state has left a big gap between the demand and supply of milk hitting the small milk producers very hard as they have been unable to sell all their production, barring one agency, which another one has slashed price and skipping collection centre for times on a rotation leaving the farmers in lurch.

As a result, the producers have to lean away the milch animals from the cattle feed, only feeding them the green fodder and wheat straw so that the animals can yield less milk, as much as possible.

“I used to sell 25 litres of milk daily to a local milkman. But since the curfew has been imposed, the milkman asked to reduce the supply to half because he said he was unable to sell the whole milk due to shutting of all the commercial establishments, it is a big loss for me because, these months were very suitable for the animals to have them yield upto the full capacity of milk, “said Jasvir Singh, a dairy farmer.

"Keeping the animals only on green fodder and straw, is not good for the health of the animals.Even, there would be no green fodder for the next two months," he added.

“If we do not give the animals cattle feed properly as per the requirements of their body, it would lead to the animals in the loss of weight, which would further lead to the problems as repeat breeding, effect on next lactation period besides many other complications,” said Chamkaur Singh, a veterinary inspector in Faridkot.

Pappu Singh, a milkman from village Panjgrain Kalan said,” I have been in the business for over 20 years. Besides collection of milk from houses of the milk producers, I had also a collection centre in village, which I have had to shut. The demand of milk has dropped all of a sudden because of the curfew. Earlier, many big dairies used to buy lacks of liters of milk to make its by products and milk consumption was considerably high in marriage palaces, hotels, road side eateries and confectioners. But as all these businesses are shut, milk is now only being used for making tea in most of the households. Due to the closure of Dairies in the towns, which had processing plans, hundreds of collection centers have been closed.

“I am also having a milk collection centre in my village, but our procurement agency is unable to buy all milk from us. Sometimes they skipping two or three times collection of milk at a collection point and its runs rotation wise,” said Sukhdeep Singh, a youth from Faridkot village.

This was the first time that the milk prices had risen to Rs 7.20 per unit of fat after many years.

On April 31, Verka has slashed its rate to 6.50 per unit of fat, but is unable to procure all the production.

“The milk producers, particularly small farmers are worst affected because they are incurring very big loss. The procurement of milk is dropped to less than 50 per cent while they are spending a lot on the animals. Half of their milk is going waste and besides it, those who have stopped the cattle feed to the milch animals, it would have devastating effect on the health of the animals. Once uprooted, such farmers would not be able to recover for over a year. Their expenses remain same, but income nosedived. It is very bad time for such milk producers,” said Harpreet Singh Khalsa, district president of milkman union Faridkot.

According to him, some of the people, who buy surplus milk, are buying some of quantity of it at about Rs 15-20 against Rs 30 to 33 earlier.(cow milk)

“We have halved our purchase, it has led us to reduction of our profit by 50 per cent, however, we are not paying out of our pockets, but farmers are all the losers, who are paying out of their pocket instead of any profit” Khalsa said.

“There are about 500 plus milkmen and 250 dairies,” he said.

“Due to no demand of milk for commercial purpose, all the dairies are shut now,” he added.

In the summer season, even the demand of the milk is increased and supply falls short leading to rates going up.

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