Transportation of milk was halted in various parts of the state as members of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana took to the streets on Sunday evening. The Sanghatana has called for a supply stoppage to demand Rs 5 per litre as subsidy for dairy farmers. In a related development, the Sangli-based Chitale Dairy has announced a collection holiday on Monday in solidarity with the protesting farmers.
In view of the low realisation dairy farmers get for milk, the farmers’ union — led by MP Raju Shetti — has called for stoppage of milk supply to Mumbai from July 16. The state government’s announcement for an export subsidy for skimmed milk powder as well as dairies, increasing the procurement price by Rs 3 for farmers, had failed to resolve the crisis. The Sanghatana wants direct subsidy for farmers to help them tide over fluctuating milk prices. At present, dairy farmers are paid between Rs 17-23 per litre for milk with 3.5 per cent fat and 8.5 per cent solid not fat (SNF).
Members of the farmers’ union had stopped tankers of milk at Nagpur, Nanded, Parbhani along with parts of Pune, Sangli, Kolhapur and other areas of the state. Leaders of the organisation had claimed that many dairies in Ahmednagar district have decided to stop collection in support of the demands of farmers.
Indraneel Chitale, partner of the Sangli-based Chitale Dairy, said they will have a procurement holiday on Monday to support the farmers. The dairy procures around 6 lakh litres of milk per day of which 4 lakh litres is sold in Pune city in pouches. With the farmers’ union getting aggressive, milk supply might be affected in the days to come.