The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) is preparing to form a task force to increase the price of milk.

During a meeting held on Friday with the dairy stakeholders, Agriculture Minister Chakrapani Khanal decided to form a task force to conduct necessary market study to raise milk price.

According to the ministry, the task force will comprise representatives from Dairy Development Corporation, Department of Livestock Services, Nepal Dairy Development Board, farmers, private sector and dairy experts. And the ministry will set the milk price based on the recommendations of the task force.

As stated by the ministry, the milk price is likely to go up from August 18. After the milk shortage hit the market during this lean season industrialists have requested MoALD to raise milk price.

Moreover, farmers have been demanding a raise in milk price as it has been two years since the government set the basic price of milk. Although the investment cost of farmers and dairy factories has been going up each year, the price of milk has remained the same, said Araniko Rajbhandari, former president of Nepal Dairy Association.

“Our investment cost is increasing every year, however the price of milk has remained the same,” he said. “The price of livestock and their feed has increased along with the labour costs. Based on all those investments the government must increase the milk price.” He further said that the government should study the neighbouring market while setting the milk price. “Increase in milk price will benefit both farmers and dairy factories,” he added.

As per Rajbhandari, the farmers are getting Rs 54 to Rs 60 per litre raw milk at present. The presence of fat and Solid-Not-Fat (SNF) determines the price of milk. The current average retail price of standardised milk is Rs 70 per litre. Prior to this, in 2017 the government had increased the price of standardised milk by six rupees a litre. Standardised milk must contain a minimum of four per cent fat and eight per cent SNF.

“It would be better to raise the price of milk by six rupees to eight rupees per litre,” he added. The dairy factories have also requested the minister to introduce a rule of seasonal milk pricing and quality milk pricing during the next revision of milk price.