Dairies in state have said they will not be able to immediately increase the procurement price of milk, despite the subsidy by the government and rising prices of skimmed milk powder (SMP).
A group of dairy owners recently wrote to the state government and expressed their inability to pay anything more than the current rate of Rs 20 per litre.
Rajiv Mitra, managing director of Govind Milk and Milk Products, said this was the optimum amount dairies could pay. “The SMP prices should remain at this level for some time to enable us to pay more to our farmers,” he said.
After a series of protests in Maharashtra last year over the low procurement price of milk, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre for dairy farmers. Dairies were supposed to pay a procurement price of Rs 25 per litre, of which Rs 5 was to be reimbursed to them by the government.
Dairy owners say that the disbursal process is slow and the reimbursement amount has been pending since November last year. Due to the slow pace of disbursal, dairies have again started paying farmers Rs 20 per litre.
In Karnataka, the state government is paying an incentive of Rs 5 per litre, and there is a proposal to increase it to Rs 6. Dairies in Maharashtra say this constant government support allows their counterparts in Karnataka to offset a portion of their operating expenses.