Dairy farmers cry over parties’ plan to cut milk prices

Chennai: Dairy farmers and officials of state-run milk cooperative Aavin have expressed concern over promises AIADMK and DMK have made in their manifestos to reduce the price of Aavin milk.

While AIADMK has promised to reduce the price of Aavin milk to 25 from 37, DMK says it will lower the price by 7. At a meeting of TN farmers’ associations on Tuesday, dairy farmers said they fear they will incur losses if prices are reduced.

“When they sell milk at Rs 37 a litre, the government gives us 28. After factoring in transportation and other costs, we get 26.20. If they cut prices, we will suffer at some point. They will not pay us on time,” said dairy farmer S Thomas from Tiruvannamalai.

For every liter of milk produced, he said the state returns 200-300ml to farmers as excess due to insufficient processing facilities. “The government gave 60,000 cows to farmers and AIADMK has again promised the same. Where will we sell all this milk?” he said.

Aavin officials are also apprehensive. The federation makes a profit of 1.25 to 1.50 on each litre of milk sold.

“The surplus funds are used for infrastructure development. Only with this profit and government grants have we been able to increase procurement capacity to 30 lakh litres a day,” said a senior Aavin official.

While DMK has promised to supply milk to noon-meal schemes in government schools, AIADMK has promised to compensate Aavin. Insiders say the government subsidy could be 600- 700 crore a year.

The official said dairy farmers’ dues are settled every week, and if government subsidy is not released on time, payment to farmers may be delayed.

Source: Times of India

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