Farmers' organisations across Maharashtra have been holding protests in various parts of the state since Monday, July 20, demanding a hike in milk procurement prices. To mark their protest, several farmers, under the banner of All India Kisan Sabha, emptied their milk tankers and cans on the streets.
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, demand for milk reduced massively, due to which the milk prices fell 40 per cent.
"Farmers were getting Rs 30-35/litre for cow's milk before lockdown. Now, after the unlocking, the situation is more or less back to normal and yet farmers are getting only Rs 17/litre," Dr Ajit Navale, General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (Maharashtra), told The Economic Times.
Meanwhile, before the lockdown, the farmers were getting Rs 40/litre for buffalo milk, which has now come down to Rs 27/litre.
The dairies claim that due to the pandemic, there was a sharp drop in milk sales, which has massively affected their capacity to pay.
#WATCH Workers of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathna spill milk on the streets of Sangli as a mark of protest. The organisation is demanding Rs 25 per litre as the minimum rate of cow milk, among others. #Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/0GSq9fb1aT— ANI (@ANI) July 21, 2020
The organisations have said that they will continue the protests until the state government provides a subsidy of Rs 10/litre directly to the farmers' bank account.
"Our main demand is that the state government ensures that the realisation of farmers is Rs 30 per litre," Navale told The Indian Express.
The dairies have converted excess milk into skimmed milk powder (SMP). Despite this, the central government has decided to import 10,000 tonnes of milk powder at 15 per cent tariff. The farmers' organisation has opposed this and demanded an immediate halt on the milk powder imports.
Meanwhile, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, the farmer outfit founded by former MP Raju Shetti, has called for a supply holiday on Tuesday, demanding for a Rs 5 per litre subsidy.
The opposition BJP has also declared to start an agitation from August 1, if the state government do not fulfil their demands.Also Read: Madhya Pradesh: Forced To Watch Their Crops Destroyed, Dalit Couple Drinks Pesticide