Milk price hike dispute lingers

KATHMANDU: It’s now two months that the per litre price of milk supplied by farmers has been increased on a provisional basis but they are still not satisfied and are demanding another hike. However, Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) has reasoned that there is no point in increasing the per litre price of milk by Rs 2.76 again.

According to DDC spokesperson Siya Ram Prasad Singh, it’s been only a few months that DDC gave an increment in the per litre raw milk price and that varies from place to place from Rs 0.50 paisa to Rs 2. “Only recently there has been a hike of Rs 2 per litre in milk price for consumers, so there is no point in increasing the raw milk price for farmers by Rs 2.76 per litre,” said Singh.

DDC recently made an increment of Rs 2 per litre in the market price of milk supplied. With an increment of Rs 2 per litre, milk that cost Rs 34 per litre is now priced at Rs 36 per litre. “After more than a year we renewed the milk price in the market whereas the hike in the price of per litre raw milk was made before any hike in the market price of milk, “ Singh said.

A disgruntled Central Dairy Cooperative Association Ltd Nepal (CDCAN) has been protesting since a week and demanding the implementation of the Ministry of Agriculture ad Cooperatives’ decision to hike milk price for the farmers. The ministry decided to increase milk by Rs 4 per litre, dividing benefits between farmers and dairy industries. However, DDC made an increment of only Rs 2 per litre of milk.

“Talks were held between us and DDC representatives at the ministry but to no avail. DDC is ready to make an increment of Rs 1.26 per litre and we do not agree to that. We need a hike of Rs 2.76 in the price that farmers get,” said CDCAN chairman Dhaka Ram Aryal. He added that the association would go on with its protest programmes.

According to DDC, there has

been a hike in the rpice of milk

products and the hike varies

according to the product from 4-5 per cent. In some instances, there is even 10 per cent price increase in some other dairy products.

Around 200,000 farmers are employed in the milk production sector. The total consumption of liquid milk per day is 150,000 litres. “The milk and dairy product distribution is going on well without any disturbance, though some of the chilling centres at some places have been padlocked. We are hopeful the dispute will be settled soon,” said Singh.

After DDC expressed reluctance

to implement the new rate fixed

by the ministry, the dairy

cooperatives association started protests since August 18. CDCAN has also demanded its representation in the DDC board and a mandatory contribution of Rs 0.5 per litre in Dairy Development Fund.