The fluctuating prices of milk powder, which are linked to the international markets, are proving to be a major hurdle in fixing the milk policy that would ensure that the farmers get fair and remunerative price (FRP) for the milk they supply to the dairies.
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Source: Times Of India

A meeting of members of the consultative committee formed by the state government to look into various issues before finalising the policy took place online on Wednesday. The members of the panel are industry experts and officials.

They are tasked with drawing up suggestions that can take a form of law similar to the one that mandates sugar mills to pay the farmers equal to FRP price fixed ahead of every crushing season.

Ranjit Deshmukh, president of Mahanand, the apex body of all cooperative milk dairies in the state, said, “In cooperatives, we ensure 80% of the revenue generated by the dairies goes to procurement of milk from the farmers so that the farmers get steady income despite hiccups in the market. It should be applied to the private dairies as well. They spend 50% of their revenue in paying farmers and rest includes operational cost and profit. The milk procurement by private sector is around 80 lakh litres per day, almost double than the procurement done by the cooperatives.”

Deshmukh said that to ensure the private players pay the farmers maximum of their revenue and that too consistently, a policy is needed to fix the issue of fluctuating prices of milk powder.

“Some of us suggested that the excess milk should be procured by the government and made into powder, butter and pay the dairies steady price to make up the procurement price.

Recently, the milk powder price touched 7-year high, which is not always the case. Therefore, we suggested the committee chairperson to work on fixing milk powder issue before finalising the policy,” said Deshmukh.

The milk sold in packing in the state is around 40 lakh litres per day and the dairies are left with double the quantity for making byproducts. Therefore, to ensure the dairies pay maximum from their revenue earnings to the farmers, they need to get steady revenue from the byproducts as well, said Deshmukh.

As one generation of dairy farmers see retirement on the horizon, who are the next generation farmers taking over the responsibility of feeding the world?

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