Farmers clueless about milk payments

Kolhapur: Dairy farmers are clueless about milk payments as the district cooperative bank societies are cash-strapped and other banks refuse to share newly-released currency notes.

The cooperative sector is the backbone of the district’s economy as it is linked to the daily life of the people. The district has many cooperative sugar, milk and handloom sectors. Over 7 lakh farmers across the district reportedly have an account at the district cooperative bank, of which many are milk cooperatives. However, farmers and cooperative bank officials are clueless about the system for payments and the new currency needed.

D V Ghanekar the managing director of Gokul, a leading milk cooperative in the district, said, “We transfer money to the farmers’ accounts in the district cooperative bank on the 3, 13 and 23 of each month. We make payments of Rs 40 crore every ten days. Farmers are connected with the banking system and demonetisation has hardly affected us. But, when farmers approach the bank, they will definitely face the cash crunch.”

The chief executive officer of the Kolhapur district cooperative bank, Pratap Chavan, said, “We are helpless as far as the new move is concerned. We have 191 branches across the district. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given us fresh currency of Rs 5 crore after the demonetisation move. When cooperative societies will transfer milk bills, we are clueless about payments to farmers as they are demanding new currency notes.”

Chavan said that the bank was now managing with the available currency.

Shivkumar Salokhe, a Kalamba-based dairy farmer, said, “Dairy farming is our primary business. We have four hybrid Jersey cows. We get around 80 litres of milk every day. We get payments regularly after every ten days from the cooperative bank. Our livelihood depends on the milk business and we need cash to buy fodder for the cattle. Now, the bank itself is cashless. They are adjusting with the available currency of low denomination like Rs 100 and Rs 50. It will become difficult to survive in the future.”

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