Govt and agitating milk farmers reach five-point agreement

Published On: March 3, 2024 10:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 3: A five-point agreement has been reached between protesting farmers and the government, who have been pouring milk on the streets to exert pressure on the government to help expedite payment of around Rs 7 billion for their milk sales.

The agreement was reached between the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and the Central Dairy Cooperative Association Limited Nepal (CDCAN) on Saturday evening. The farmers withdrew their protest program after the agreement was reached in the presence of Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Beduram Bhusal.

The agreement stated that the due amount will be disbursed to milk farmers by April 3. 

Amar Bahadur Kunwar, President of CDCAN, informed that the agreement includes provisions such as ensuring uninterrupted milk purchases by dairy industries without reducing the quantity, coordinating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock for the export of milk and dairy products, incorporating export promotion measures in the policies and programs of the next fiscal year, and continuing the government's concessions on animal husbandry and farmer insurance.

Farmers had launched protests citing difficulties in feeding cattle, paying bank interest installments and meeting household expenses as they were unable to  receive payments for milk sold over the past three to four months. They had announced plans to intensify their protests in Kathmandu from March 4.

Protesting farmers claim that private dairy companies owe them around Rs 6 billion, while the government-owned Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) owes them about Rs 900 million.

When the consumption of milk and milk products decreased in the market, the industrialists have been saying that they could not pay the farmers because the capital was 'held' while the butter and powdered milk made from the milk bought from the farmers were in stock. About 3 million farmers are making a living by selling milk. It is estimated that farmers produce about 7 million liters of milk daily.

Farmers are in trouble as they are unable to get the amount of milk sold. private dairies that purchase milk and the government-owned DDC are saying that they are facing problems in payment due to non-sale of milk and milk products.

Prahlad Dahal, president of Nepal Dairy Association, said that there is difficulty in making payments due to lack of capital when the stock of butter and powdered milk is about Rs 6 billion.

It is said that the private dairy industry has butter and milk powder stock worth about Rs 5 billion and the DDC’s stock is valued at about Rs 1 billion.

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