BANEPA, April 5: Mandandeupur Municipality of Kavre district has restricted collection, processing and transport of milk from Saturday in the municipality area.
Prana Raj Neupane, head administrative officer of Mandandeupur Municipality, informed that the municipality has decided to prohibit collection, processing and transport of milk till the lockdown period. “Milk collection cooperatives and centers were found not following the criteria as per the government regulation. We have received complaints regarding huge gathering and crowd of people,” said Neupane.
Ministry of Livestock and Agriculture Development has urged 753 local units to support the production of local products in their areas. Likewise, the Ministry also has requested the local units to help in transportation of agricultural products.
According to Binod Prasad Poudel, president of Uma Devi Milk Producers and Cooperative, the municipality has restricted the cooperative's activity even when cooperative members maintain social distancing with farmers, and provide facility of hand wash in collection centers and management of masks and uniforms to employees.
“It is okay to ask farmers who produce four-five liters of milk to not bring their product to the processing center. But there are farmers who provide 20 to 100 liters of milk. It is hard for them to manage huge volume of milk in their homes,” said Poudel.
According to Poudel, the decision was made a day ago without any warning and this has created problems for farmers. The farmers are also facing difficulty managing fodder for their cows.
Mandandeupur Municipality is considered a leader in milk production in the district. Milk producers, cooperatives and private farms send 15,000 to 20, 000 liters of milk in the market on a daily basis. In the last fiscal year, 15 cooperatives of Mandandeupur Municipality were provided Rs 3.99 million in subsidy by the Bagmati provincial government.
Naya gau, Dhaitar, Chinapahiro, Jayamdi, Rayo Bari, Chandeni and Sipa Ghat are the main milk-producing areas in the municipality. According to Narayan Badal, president of Kavrepalanchowk District Milk Producer and Cooperatives Association, the decision of the municipality without discussing with the people associated with the milk industry will affect the farmers the most.
“Mayor Sir had called me two days ago and told me not to send tankers for collection of milk. In this situation, most of the dairy shops have closed but stopping the purchase of milk from farmers is not appropriate,” said Badal.
“We have maintained social distancing at the suggestion of the municipality. There is management of hand wash in the collection centers and we have also provided masks and uniforms for employees,” said Basu Dev Upadhyaya, incharge of Akhil Nepal Farmers Association Kavre.
Out of 13 local units of Kavre district, only Mandandeupur has restricted collection and transportation of milk. “Amid the epidemic, the decision of the local government has directly or indirectly created problems for all the farmers. We request Mandandeupur Municipality to correct their decision,” said Upadhyaya.