Maharashtra’s dairy sector is again on the verge of a major crisis as dairies have not only decided to pay Rs 20 per litre as procurement price, they have also decided to suspend the sale of milk in plastic pouches from December 15, when plastic manufacturers across the state are expected to go on an indefinite strike.
Maharashtra’s dairy sector decided to suspend the sale of milk in plastic pouches from December 15.
On an average, dairies in Maharashtra sell 85 lakh litres of milk in plastic pouches daily.
In June this year, the state government had banned the sale or use of plastic bags in Maharashtra. Dairies are supposed to put in place a buyback mechanism for the pouches, which would allow consumers to sell the used pouches at 50 paise each. The collected pouches were to be transported to the manufacturers for recycling.
But the scheme has stumbled due to the lack of an efficient buyback mechanism. Plastic manufacturers, meanwhile, have announced that they will stop production of milk pouches from December 15 to protest the scheme.
In a meeting held late on Thursday, representatives of dairies decided to stop the sale of milk in pouches from December 15. “Dairies will run out of pouches by then and we will have no other option but to suspend the sale,” said Prakash Kutwal, secretary of the Milk Producers and Processors Association, an umbrella body of both cooperative and private dairies in the state.
The association has also decided to revert to the Rs 20 per litre rate procurement price for dairy farmers, as against the Rs 25 per litre mandated by the state government.
Earlier this year, the government had announced a Rs 5 per litre subsidy, to help farmers get better prices for their produce.