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Farmers in Maharashtra to get Fair, Remunerative Price (FRP) for milk

Against the backdrop of an agitation by milk farmers over plummeting prices, state dairy development minister Sunil Kedar said on Friday that government would look into demands for a fair and remunerative price for milk along the lines of sugarcane.

Cane farmers are guaranteed a minimum price known as FRP.

“The state government will study this issue. Farmers have been suffering with the lack of demand and low prices for milk during lockdown,” said Kedar. Dairies have slashed procurement price for milk over the last few months. Farmer groups have also been pushing for milk prices to be raised to Rs35/litre.

The FRP for milk has been discussed several times but there are challenges to its implementation as very little milk is procured by government and bulk of trade is with private sector. The state procures less than 1% of milk produced, cooperative dairies procure 35%, while private dairies procure over 60%.

Officials said it was difficult to enforce pricing in a decontrolled sector dominated by private players. Farmer groups said private and cooperative dairies had slashed procurement rates by Rs10-15 during lockdown. “Farmers used to get Rs35/litre before lockdown. Then it fell to Rs20. Farmers are being looted,” said Ajit Navle of Kisan Sabha. After a meeting with state government, Navle said they would welcome an FRP for milk and were hopeful milk procurement prices would start rising.

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