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Excess milk: Private dairies in Maharashtra likely to pay farmers reduced procurement prices

But the private dairies are now likely to pay farmers only Rs 18 per litre due to the lack of demand, sources said.But the private dairies are now likely to pay farmers only Rs 18 per litre due to the lack of demand, sources said.

Private dairies in Maharashtra are likely to pay reduced procurement prices to farmers at the rate of Rs 18 per litre from next month, thanks to the problem of excess milk in the state due to the lockdown situation.

Senior officials associated with the industry pointed out that the procurement prices varied across the state. Dairies in Kolhapur pay farmers Rs 26 per litre while others end up paying farmers Rs 25 per litre. The procurement prices for private dairies vary between Rs 19 per litre, Rs 20 per litre and Rs 21 per litre. But the private dairies are now likely to pay farmers only Rs 18 per litre due to the lack of demand, sources said.

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Dairies in the state have already threatened to stop procurement of milk from farmers once a week due to the lack of clarity on the government scheme to procure 10 lakh litres of milk from farmers every day. Under the scheme that was announced after the lockdown, Mahananda — the state government’s dairy products company — was to procure 10 lakh litre from farmers every day to convert the same into skimmed milk powder (SMP). According to Ranjit Deshmukh, chairman, Mahananda, although the target was to collect 10 lakh litre on a daily basis, the dairies managed to collect 5.5 lakh litre per day. Mahananda has collected 6 crore litre under the scheme till date, he said.

The scheme, which has been extended twice ended on Tuesday. Deshmukh said a ministerial meeting has been called on Wednesday to decide the fate of the scheme. A meeting was also called on Monday where industry people were called to appraise the government of the current situation.

Prakash Kutwal, secretary, Milk Producers and Processors’ Welfare Federation, pointed out that milk sales have gone down by 40% during the lockdown period due to closure of hotels, restaurants and tea shops. There was also no offtake from institutional consumers such as caterers, ice-cream makers and sweetmeat sellers, Kutwal said.

Before the March 24 lockdown, dairies were paying Rs 29-30 per litre, but now dairies are paying farmers around Rs 21 to Rs 22 per litre. Maharashtra’s average daily collection is around 1.30 crore litre. Of this, around 60% is sold to retail through pouches.

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