Due to a drop in demand, dairy farmers in the Lar region of central Kashmir's Ganderbal district have been dumping hundreds of liters of milk down the drain every day since last month.
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According to dairy farmers in Repora village of Lar tehsil here, one of the largest milk producing villages, decreasing milk demand in the last month has caused them to dump hundreds of liters of milk into drains, implying huge losses to farmers.

Farmers stated that lot of individuals in the region had taken up dairy farming as a business after receiving government loans; however, the current scenario has resulted in misery and financial losses.

“For the past one month, we have only delivered 40% of the milk.  There are no purchasers since demand has dropped precipitously for unknown reasons,” they stated.

“We are unable to figure out the reasons whether it is due to COVID-19 situation, the supply of packed milk from outside or anything else,” said Bashir Ahmad, a dairy farmer.

Another dairy farmer, Zamrooda, stated that she owns 20 cows and that her inability to sell milk has affected her livelihood.

I don’t have money to buy cow feed,” she stated, adding, “the cows are on the verge of starvation. I earn by selling milk, feed my family and cows. Now I’m dumping 60 percent of the milk produced every day,” she said.

After being turned down by many dairy plants, dozens of farmers decided to pour milk and empty containers into a drain. Farmers say it’s painful to dump milk, but they don’t have a choice.

“We’re not sure how we and our cows will live in this circumstance. We want the LG administration to intervene and save us and our cows,” Nasir Ahmad added.

Farmers claim educated youth have chosen dairy farming as a career path, but because of lockdown and lack of market access, many are being forced to sell their cows.

“I spent more than Rs.300-500 a day to feed a cow.

How am I going to feed her if I can’t sell milk? I have taken a loan from a bank and set up my dairy farm. The government should intervene and come to our rescue,” said another dairy farmer.

Farmers stated that they approached animal husbandry officials and the district administration in Ganderbal about the issue, but they have received no assurances of help so far.

They complained that the officials were directing them from one corner to the next.

Two more local dairies are getting out after another tough year.

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