October 16, 2008


Dairy farmers protest milk price reduction in Indian state Gujarat

Farmers are unhappy that milk procurement prices by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) dairies have been reduced, given the increase of cattle feed prices.

District cooperative milk unions have lowered milk procurement prices by around Rs 10, and farmers are demanding higher prices for their raw milk in light of rising feed costs.


Cattle feed prices have spiked to Rs 100 per bag from Rs 30 in a space of two months, while fodder prices have doubled from Rs 1.5 to Rs 3 per kg.


"Every year the milk unions pay high milk procurement prices during summer and compensate the increase by reducing the prices in winters. However, increase in cattle feed prices this year has over burdened the farmers. At present, the cost is very high and almost all cattle feed plants are running under heavy losses. The government should reduce the cost of raw material of cattle feed as the dairies are expected to cut the milk procurement prices further in coming months," said a dairy industry expert.


A cattle feed manufacturer, Sabar dairy, has increased the price of a 70-kg bag from Rs 490 to Rs 520, while Dudhsagar dairy hiked its 70-kg bag of feed to Rs 570 from Rs 470.


Current milk prices are simply not profitable, said Vipul Chaudhary, chairman of the Mehsana District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union Ltd.


A farmer in Mehsana district also states his concern that many would be forced to quit the industry if compensation remains low, as rising prices of cattle feed and fodder deliver a heavy financial blow.


Jayantibhai Barwadia, secretary of the Virnagar Milk Cooperative Society Ltd, said that sales of cattle feed bags have dropped to 15-20 per month from 70-80 per month, as farmers reduce cattle feed consumption and switch to alternative feeds.


Milk procurement prices in Rajkot and Banaskantha district are at Rs 270 and Rs 274 per kg, up Rs 10 and Rs 16 respectively.

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