Farmers in Chitwan dissatisfied with decision to import milk from India

Published On: May 6, 2023 10:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

CHITWAN, May 6: Farmers in Chitwan have protested after the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) recommended importing milk from India. 

Kishore Wagle, president of Chitwan Milk Producers Cooperative Association, accused the government of bringing milk from India without conducting any proper study.

“NDDB has recommended the import of 120,000 liters of milk daily from India,” Wagale said in a press conference in Bharatpur. "This is a sad matter for the farmers. If the need for milk is increased, it is necessary to conduct proper study. The government should focus on increasing production rather than importing.”

Wagle mentioned that the milk required by Nepal will be available in the country itself. He insisted that just to decrease the price of milk being sold by Nepali farmers, the milk is being imported from India. “It is a sad matter to try to import milk from India when the market of milk has been decreasing. So far, 40,000 liters of powdered milk of Chitwan Milk Industry has not been sold. The situation of dairy products like curd, paneer etc. is the same,” he said.

"While the market and business itself is in loss. The products cannot be brought from foreign countries to cause problems to the farmers." Farmers demand that the government should focus on production rather than importation. The government of Nepal does not even have the necessary data on milk production.

At present, 20 percent less milk is going from Chitwan to the NDDB. Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) has been selling cooperatives to private industry for not paying them on time. “It is said that DDC is not getting enough milk. This is because farmers are not getting payment on time,” Bagle said. "If they pay on time, the farmers of Chitwan are ready to sell milk to DDC."

DDC has been taking 15,000 liters of milk from Chitwan every day. Earlier 50,000 liters of milk were sold to DDC. According to him, DDC buys milk from 30 cooperatives, but they have not been paid for four months. According to Bagale, DDC is yet to pay a cooperative between Rs 1.5- 2 million.

Last mid-October, due to shortage of milk, imports were opened with daily quantitative restrictions. DDC said that there is still a shortage of milk. The dairy industry had submitted a petition to the ministry demanding the import of powdered milk, raw milk and butter from India.

DDC, Nepal Dairy Association, Dairy Industries Association are in favor of opening the import of milk immediately. However, farmers complain that this situation has occurred as the industries did not bother to reach the rural areas to collect milk. About 350,000 liters of milk is being produced daily in Chitwan. The district exports around 250,000 liters of milk to various other districts each day.

Recently, most of the cooperatives have started giving milk to the private industry. Only 15,000 liters are taken by DDC. The price of milk has also increased three months ago. Farmers have been selling milk containing 4 fat and 8 FNS at Rs 65 per liter. The consumption price is Rs 130. Farmers have warned of agitation if milk is imported from India without conducting proper research.

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