Agitating dairy farmers give milk for free in protest

Chitwan, July 23

Irate dairy farmers distributed their produce to pedestrians free of cost on the fourth day of their protest against the Dairy Development Corporation’s decision to slash the price of milk.

Farmers affiliated to Ratnanagar-based Diary Producers’ Cooperatives Coordination Committee distributed today’s collection — 45 litres of milk — to pedestrians at Ratnanagar’s Bakulahar as a part of their protest. “We fed the milk free of cost to bus passengers on the East-West Highway as well as pedestrians,” said committee Chair Shivakanta Poudel, adding that the buses on the highway were stopped and passengers were given milk free of cost.

Earlier, on Friday, farmers affiliated to Rapti Diary Producers’ Cooperatives Coordination Committee had spilled around 240 litres of milk at Bhandara of Rapti Municipality, on the East-West Highway. Two days later, Khairahani-based Diary Cooperatives Coordination Committee also followed suit and wasted some 200 litres of their produce on the road.

The farmers’ agitation has to do with the Dairy Development Corporation’s decision to slash the sale commission earlier given to the cooperatives to Rs three from the earlier 6.92 rupees on every litre of milk. Of the previous commission paid along with the price of the milk, three rupees per litre would be given to farmers, while the remaining would be used to run the cooperatives and cover the cost of salaries for staff.

The new commission rate came into effect from the beginning of this fiscal.

Chitwan District Diary Cooperatives Association Chairperson Harihar Subedi lamented the cut in the commission.”It’s unfortunate that the government that should be giving more incentives to farmers is cheating them in one or the other way, this time by cutting the commission,” he said, calling on the government to take back the decision or face stern agitation.

“How sensible is the government decision to bring down the price of the produce of farmers, while it doesn’t do its bit to control the prices of cattle feed and medicine?” he asked.

Chitwan produces some 250,000 litres of milk commercially every day.