The state government is all set to appoint an administrator to check financial irregularities and exploitation of farmers by middle-agents in dairy cooperative societies across Maharashtra. A senior IAS officer will be deputed to stem corruption and mismanagement in the sector, including adulteration of milk to increase profit margins, and exploitation of farmers, sources said.
The decision to crack the whip on dairy cooperative societies is aimed at facilitating higher rates for farmers supplying milk. It also aims to end the nexus between politicians and middle-agents in the sector.
“On an average, a farmer gets Rs 22-25 per litre of milk supplied to these dairy cooperative societies. But the societies market the same milk at rates as high as Rs 60-80 per litre. The government wants to ensure the Rs 35-55 pocketed by middle-agents or cooperative sectors be shared with farmers. The farmers deserve better remuneration,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
He pointed out that while state-owned brands remain neglected, politicians, under the cooperative cover, were promoting their own private brands.
The average daily collection of milk by the government and cooperative dairies taken together was 44.45 lakh litres during 2016-17. It was 51.13 lakh litres during 2015-16.
There are 192 cold storages with a capacity of 7,618.77 MT, of which 167 cold storages with a capacity of 7172.12 MT are with the private sector.
The government has infused Rs 68.08 crore under Rashtriya Kisan Vikas Yojna in 13 dairy projects during 2016-17.
In government and cooperative sectors together, 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. In the state, there are 14,921 cooperative dairy societies and 85 cooperative dairy unions. About 37.6 per cent cooperative dairy societies and 29.4 per cent dairy unions are in loss.
The enrolled members in cooperative dairy societies stand at 11.6 lakh and 1.43 lakh in cooperative dairy unions, according to officials in the Commissioner for Cooperative and Registrar Cooperative Societies.
According to a NABARD report, the estimated credit potential projections for the year 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 piggery development.