Despite average milk production in Gujarat growing by 13 per cent in last one year, prices of milk paid to dairy farmers in the state rose by just three paise, when compared to cooperatives in states like Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, where higher remuneration was paid during the period between April 2020 and April 2021.
In Gujarat, the average milk procurement in April 2021 was 228 lakh litres per day (LLPD). This is a 13 per cent growth compared to 202 lakh litres in April 2020, states the data tabled on Lok Sabha Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying on Tuesday. Of the total milk procured daily by the cooperative sector in the country during April 2021, Gujarat alone accounted for 44.5 per cent of the production.
However, Gujarat lags behind cooperatives in Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu when it comes to paying dairy farmers. Among cooperatives of 15 states, milk procurement price paid to farmers in Kerala during April 2021 was the highest at Rs 46.91 per kilogram (for 6 percent fat content and 9 percent solid not fat content). This is a 6.1 per cent increase compared to prices that existed in April 2020.
Uttar Pradesh which is headed for Assembly polls in early 2022, saw the highest jump in milk procurement prices between April 2020 and April 2021. The prices paid in UP in April 2021 stood at Rs 43 per kilogram which was a jump of 13.15 per cent when compared to Rs 38 paid a year ago. This jump in prices happened as milk procurement dropped by 35 per cent in last one year.
Similarly, Punjab too increased the milk procurement prices by 2.1 per cent despite the pandemic and the prices for a kilogram stood at Rs 41.81. Tamil Nadu too paid a higher price to dairy farmers (Rs 41) than Gujarat in April 2021. The prices in Tamil Nadu remained unchanged during the last one year.
“The procurement prices for farmers will increase only when we increase the MRP (Maximum Retail Price) of milk which the consumer pays. After 1.5 years, we increased the MRP of milk in July 2021. Now the procurement prices are 5-6 percent more than last year,” RS Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) told The Indian Express on Wednesday. GCMMF sells milk and milk products under the brand Amul.
Apart from Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal were the only other states where milk procurement prices did not increase between April 2020 and April 2021. Among the milk cooperatives, West Bengal had the lowest milk procurement price of Rs 32.58 per kilogram. States like Haryana and Rajasthan slashed milk procurement prices in last one year. While Harayana reduced prices by 60 paise per kilogram, Rajasthan cut milk procurement rates by 10.4 per cent to Rs 39.72 per kilogram.