TIKAPUR, Jan 9: Farmers of Lamki of Tikapur spilled milk on the street on Monday morning as part of their protest against Dairy Development Corporation (DDC).
The farmers took to the street by spilling 50 liters of milk on the road after the DDC stopped buying milk from farmers.
Indra Devkota, a dairy farmer of Lamki, said DDC had shown reluctance to purchase milk from farmers since September, 2017. It stopped purchasing milk from December 31, 2017, he added.
“We have started buffalo farming taking loan from banks and financial institutions. How are we are supposed to pay back our loan now? How can we learn livelihood,” Devkota said.
Devkota is not the only one. Many farmers from Lamki, Bauniya, Pratappur, Chuha and Pathraiya are facing this problem. Farmers are facing financial crunch as they are not being able to sold milk produced in their farm.
Kiran Giri, chief of DDC's chilling center in Lamki, said they had to stop buying milk from farmers because of transportation problem. “We have only one tanker to transport milk which is insufficient,” he said, adding: “That is why we have stopped buying milk from farmers.”
The state-owned dairy producer has provided only one tanker having capacity of 4,600 liters for Attariya-based Dhangadi Dairy Project. This is the only tanker to collect milk produced in all the districts of Province 7.
The chilling center had been collecting 13,000-15,000 liters of milk every day. As only around 6,000 to 7,000 liters of the total collection can be consumed in the local market, remaining milk has to be supplied to Kathmandu, Pokhara and other districts.
Only around 700 to 800 liters of around 2,000 liters of milk collected in Lamki is consumed locally. “We are facing problem to supply the remaining 1,200-1,300 liters to other districts,” Giri added.
The chilling center also doesn't have needful infrastructure to store milk. Though the store has storage capacity of only 1,000 liters, it current has 3,500 liters of milk in stock. “We have sufficient milk in stock. But we have not able to supply it to other districts because of transportation problem,” he said. “In such situation, how can we buy milk from farmers?”
Meanwhile, local farmers say that the government was discriminating against people of the far-western region. They say that the government was not providing sufficient tankers to areas where milk production is high. According to them, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts produce 12,000-14,000 liters of milk every day.
Local farmers also alleged that the DDC was importing milk from India while milk produced in the country goes to waste. “While milk produced in the country goes to waste, DDC is buying 40,000 liters of milk from Bihar. This is a game of commission,” local farmers added.
Meanwhile, the farmers have also asked the government to pile pressure on DDC to purchase milk from them.