DDC and private sector dairies owe billions of rupees to milk producing farmers
KATHMANDU, Dec 10: The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) has halted allowances and other benefits of the board of directors and staff of the Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) after the state-owned milk supplier failed to clear the dues of the milk producing farmers on time.
Agriculture Minister Bedu Ram Bhusal through the DDC board meeting held at the MoALD on Friday suspended the additional benefits being provided to the board members and employees until all the outstanding dues of the farmers are cleared.
The DDC has widely been criticized for dilly-dallying the payments worth around Rs 3 billion to the farmers for the milk they sold to the corporation. As a protest, farmers from a number of locations across the country have even declared milk holiday by not selling their produce to the DDC.
As per an agreement made by the DDC with the farmers, the corporation is supposed to pay to the farmers every 15 days from the date of purchase of milk. However, the DDC has been blamed for delaying the payments for months.
The farmers have been suffering not only due to the delay in payment by the DDC, but also from the late settlement of dues by the private sector dairies. According to the National Dairy Development Board, milk producers from 35 districts of the country are yet to be paid around Rs 6 billion by both private dairies and the DDC.
The DDC has been lingering in payment showing the cause of a heavy decline in market demand for its products. “The corporation has seen a decline of 12 percent in demand in the Kathmandu valley alone,” said an official of the DDC.