The protest, organised by the All India Kisan Sabha -- the farmer’s outfit of the Communist party -- saw farmers emptying their milk cartoons on the road at various places in Aurangabad and Ahmednagar.
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Since the start of the lockdown in Maharashtra, milk procurement prices have collapsed at the farm gate levels. (File)

Dairy farmers in Maharashtra started protesting over the low prices of milk on Thursday morning. The protest, organised by the All India Kisan Sabha — the farmer’s outfit of the Communist party — saw farmers emptying their milk cartoons on the road at various places in Aurangabad and Ahmednagar.

Since the start of the lockdown in Maharashtra, milk procurement prices have collapsed at the farm gate levels. Farmer who were paid a comfortable Rs 30-31/liter for their milk with 3.5 per cent fat and 8.5 per cent SNF (Solid-Not-Fat) since then are receiving around Rs 17-20/liter. Dairies on their part have blamed the demand destruction for them having to slash procurement prices.

In their letter to the chief minister and the minister for dairy development, the Kisan Sabha has pointed out how the milk pouch prices have not corrected for the consumer despite a dip in procurement price. The Sabha has asked for a complete audit of the milk unions to find out if their claim of demand destruction is true during the lockdown. They have also asked for strict legislation against such drastic price dips.

The farmers have demanded a revenue sharing formula between the farmers and the dairies which shall safeguard them from price shocks. Also, they have asked for single milk marking brand in Maharashtra on the lines of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation or Amul. Asking for a stop on the sales of toned milk, they have asked for strict implementation of laws against milk adulteration.

Last month, 14 of our dairy farms in Maine, as well as dozens of dairy farms across northern New England, got an unexpected and disappointing notice from Danone of North America saying that they were discontinuing their contracts with our organic dairy farmers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and elsewhere.

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