Dairy farmers in Kashmir are throwing thousands of liters of milk into the drain due to low demand, for which they blame the COVID-19 lockdown.
In Pulwama, the region’s most milk-producing district, troubled farmers brought truck-filled milk cartons to industrial estate Lasipora and dumped it in a rivulet.
Dairy plants in the industrial estate refused to buy milk, citing weak demand due to the lockout, after which they did not find buyers.
Dairy farmer Rafiq Ahmed said, “For the last one month we have been selling only 40 per cent of milk. There is no buyer due to the lockdown.”
Mr. Ahmed has 40 cows and his inability to sell milk has affected his livelihood. He said that the cows are on the verge of starvation.
He said, “I don’t have the money to buy fodder for my 40 cows. I earn by selling milk, feed my family and cows. Now I am dumping 60 per cent of the milk produced every day.”
At the Lasipora Industrial Estate, the Zoom Zoom milk processing plant was purchasing 22,000 liters from dairy farmers before the recession. Today it has reduced to only 10,000 liters.
Shafat Shah, the owner of the dairy plant, said, “We buy milk and process it in the unit based on market demand. Since our sales have come down after the Corona curfew, we can reduce our purchases by 50-60 percent Are forced to limit. ” .
Dozens of farmers who were away from various dairy plants decided to throw the milk and empty pots into a rivulet. Farmers say that throwing milk is painful but they have no option left.
Zahoor Ahmed said, “We do not know how we and our cows will survive in such a situation. We appeal to the governor to intervene and save us and our cows.”
Farmers say educated youth have chosen dairy farming as a means of employment, but many are selling their cows due to lockdown and lack of access to the market.
“I spent more than 300 rupees a day to feed a cow. If I can’t sell milk then how can I feed it. I have taken a loan from a bank and set up my dairy farm. The government should intervene And should come to our rescue, ”said dairy farmer Sajjad Ahmed.