To ensure higher remuneration to dairy farmers, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday urged the Centre to announce a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for them under the Essential Commodities Act. Fadnavis raised the demand at the Niti Aayog’s fourth governing council meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Sunday.
Highlighting the exploitation of dairy farmers by milk companies and cooperatives, he said, “The Centre should announce an MSP for milk procured from dairy farmers by private players and cooperatives, which run the dairies across the country and Maharashtra, under the Essential Commodities Act.”
In Maharashtra, the state government has fixed a minimum Rs 27 per litre of milk. However, dairy farmers often complain of rampant exploitation by dairies, which refuse to pay more than Rs 17 to 20 per litre.
To raise the milk demand and promote milk processing units for skimmed milk powder, the state government has announced a Rs 3 subsidy. To help the dairy farmers and make milk processing economically feasible and generate more demand in the market, the chief minister suggested the Centre should provide a 10 per cent subsidy.
In the wake of surplus sugar production in the state and across the country, the chief minister demanded restructuring and extension of tenure for repayment of the soft loans availed by the mill owners. Of the total 31.7 million tonne sugar production, Maharashtra accounts for 10.7 million tonne.
Fadnavis also pitched for higher Budget allocations to modernise 3,500 gramin haats (rural markets) across Maharashtra. For this, the Centre should make provisions from the Agro-Infra Fund, he said. “Gramin haats are important centres for boosting the rural economy. It is a platform where farmers can market their farm produce. It would help in better remuneration to the farmers and villagers,” he said.