HYDERABAD: The self-styled ‘All Hyderabad Farmers Action Committee’ has announced that it will raise the farm gate rate of milk by Rs10 per litre from Feb 1. It also hinted at a further increase in March if the cost of inputs did not come down.

Speaking at a press conference, members of the committee including Haji Amir Ghauri and Shaukat Ali Jatoi said that they did not have any representative body, therefore they had to form the action committee to raise the voice of livestock and cattle farmers and draw attention of the authorities concerned to their woes.

Referring to resistance by the provincial government and district administrations against any raise in milk prices, they said “if they want to destroy us, then let them do it. We will be forced to close our business instead of bearing losses,” said Amir Ghauri.

He said that due to increasing cost of milk production, they had to decide a Rs10 per litre hike in ex-farm rate from Feb 1. He produced a paper issued by director of the livestock/animal husbandry department, Hyderabad, allowing the farm gate rate at Rs101.81 per litre after assessing prices of milk production inputs. “But we have announced a rate of Rs100 per litre,” he said.

Mr Ghauri said that prices of various commodities in the country were skyrocketing and this had broken the backbone of dairy farmers as well. He said that the cost of inputs and animal feed had gone up manifold and they had repeatedly requested the administration to allow them a fair increase in the milk rate but to no avail.

He said that currently, the retail price fixed by the administration was Rs96/litre and the farm gate rate Rs90/litre. He recalled that dairy farmers had made a Rs10/litre raise two years back and a further Rs2/litre hike four months back. He argued that they did not get any subsidy from government though the input cost was increasing.

He said that around 500,000 to 600,000 litres of milk was produced in Hyderabad which was short of the city’s requirement. At present, he added, only 10 per cent to 15pc of it was supplied to Karachi which previously used to be around 40pc.

“A milk crisis may hit the city after this winter as in summers, the demand increases and production drops,” he apprehended.

He said that the retail price should be increased to Rs120/litre otherwise farmers, dairy owners and retailers all would have to incur losses.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2020

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