Milk producers in the State have yet again approached the Government to allow the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) to increase the retail price of milk, which has not been increased in the last two-and-a-half years.
“The issue has been discussed in the Cabinet. A decision on the petition will be taken after the approval of the Chief Minister in the coming days,” Cooperation Minister S.T. Somashekar told The Hindu. “A hike of ₹3 has been sought, of which farmers will receive ₹2.50 and the unions will retain 50 paise. The contention is that milk price has not increased in the last two-and-a-half years,” he added.
A KMF delegation, led by chairman Balachandra Jarkiholi petitioned Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Mr. Somashekar in Belagavi while the legislature session was on, seeking hike. Based on the petition, Mr. Somashekar on December 20 wrote to the Chief Minister to allow a hike in the milk price and pass it on to the farmers. Currently, the retail price of Nandini milk is ₹37 a litre and it is lowest compared with other States where the price ranges from ₹40 to ₹48 a litre.
Bengaluru Milk Union president Narasimhamurthy said that since the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, milk unions have suffered huge losses since the market for milk and milk products had shrunk drastically. “We are saddled with unsold stock of 6,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder and 2,000 tonnes of butter. To prevent unions from collapsing owing to losses, unions in the last two years have resorted to reduction in procurement price for the farmers,” he said.
In the last two years, milk producers in the State, who were receiving between ₹29 and ₹31 per litre from their respective unions as procurement price, have seen their income decline between ₹24 and ₹26 a litre. Besides, farmers also get ₹5 as incentive from the State Government. “While the production cost has gone up 30% to 40 % in recent years, farmers’ income has declined. Milk producers are in distress. Any further reduction in procurement price would severely affect the dairy industry,” he said.
Source : The Hindu Dec 26 2021, written by Sharath S Srivatsa