1,20,000 farmers would receive a maximum ₹6,000 each towards fodder.
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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced COVID-19 assistance for dairy farmers registered under the Odisha State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation (OMFED).

According to the State government, 1,20,000 farmers would receive a maximum ₹6,000 each towards fodder costs resulting in ₹11 crore expenditure.

During the lockdown, the farmers suffered a lot as sweetmeat shops, restaurants and tea shops, which are major end users of milk, remained closed. Farmers were seen pouring milk on roads protesting against non-procurement.

“The pandemic has adversely impacted the economy of the world and Odisha is no exception. While all sectors fared badly, agriculture and allied sector sustained the economy. Farmers continued their work without giving up,” said Mr. Patnaik in a statement.

Dairy farming plays an important role in the rural economy contributing to livelihoods of small and marginal farmers, he said.

“Since demand for milk has come down drastically, it had impacted the livelihood of dairy farmers in a big way. Keeping this in mind, it has been decided to provide financial assistance to dairy farmers,” he said.

The Congress had earlier demanded monthly assistance of ₹6,000 to every milk farmer during the lockdown period.

Procurement, which was around 5.45 lakh litre per day, ranged between 3.75 lakh LPD and 2 lakh LPD at one point of time. Subsequently, the OMFED had restricted procurement in May.

Keeping in mind the distress condition of the milk farmers, the government revised guidelines of the fourth lockdown allowing sweetmeat shops to open.

Fergal Rudden returned to farming from working in the furniture industry and began milking in 2015 with 25 cows before tripling numbers four years later.

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