Farmers supplying milk to dairy cooperative societies are set to get higher remuneration from June 20 in a move to prevent their exploitation by dairy cooperatives. The proposal will be mooted at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. A source in the government said: “Apart from the blanket loan waiver, the state government has taken the decision to prevent exploitation of dairy farmers.”
The proposal states that profit-sharing in the dairy co-operatives should be similar to the sugar co-operatives sector, in the ratio of 70:30. With the Congress-NCP having the maximum hold on dairy cooperatives and unions across Maharashtra, the decision is likely to have far reaching implications. The move comes in the wake of mounting pressure from farmers’ unions about exploitation and underpayment for milk supply.
A source in the dairy development said: “After the cabinet ratification of the 70:30 formula, the profit margin of the farmers would increase. In the present context, the supply of milk per litre would be at Rs 30 to 32.” A study across the state shows that the average rate that the farmers now get from dairy cooperatives is Rs 18 to 26 per litre. Another reason for the state government’s intervention is being seen as the huge losses the sector has been suffering for the last 15 years.
During the ongoing farmers’ strike, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while expressing concern about dairy farmers, had said: “The government believes they deserve higher remuneration.” There are 11.6 lakh members in co-operative dairy societies, and 1.43 lakh in cooperative dairy unions, according to officials in the Commissioner for Cooperative and Registrar Cooperative Societies.
The average daily collection of milk by the government and co-operative dairies together was 44.45 lakh litres in 2016-17. Whereas, it had recorded 51.13 lakh litres in 2015-16. In the government and co-operative sectors, there are 98 milk processing plants and 156 chilling centres with a capacity of 90.17 lakh litres and 26,55 lakh litres per day respectively. There are 14,921 co-operative dairy societies and 85 co-operative dairy unions across the state.
About 37.6 per cent of the co-operative dairy societies and 29.4 per cent of dairy unions are running into losses. A NABARD report states that the estimated credit potential projection for 2017-18 for livestock (animal husbandry) is Rs 5447.17 crore, of which Rs 3,656.49 crore has been set aside for dairy development and Rs 1,103.69 crore for sheep, goat and pig farms.