The country witnessed a milk holiday after almost nine years as dairies stopped buying milk from farmers amid a supply glut. Farmers in various districts across the country were distressed with dairies declining to purchase their products.
Milk production in Parbat has swelled with an increase in the number of commercial farmers. However, a sharp decline in milk demand in the market was observed due to which cooperatives running dairy plants have declared a milk holiday.
Kaligandaki Cooperative in Kushma-5, Badagaun, which sold 800 litres of milk daily last year, has slashed production. According to Krishna Prasad Acharya, manager of the cooperative, they stopped collecting milk from once place following a fall in demand and also gave a three-day milk holiday last week. They used to collect milk from four different places. Likewise, Ramesh Sharma, operator of Gramin Bikash Krishi Cooperative in Kushma, said they used to sell 300 litres of milk this time last year. Now the cooperative has reduced sales. Other dairy operators who have been engaged in the sector for a decade said that demand for milk had decreased sharply.
Farmers in Morang district have also been hit by a milk holiday after supply exceeded demand, as per the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperatives of Province 1. A milk holiday has been declared in the district after production exceeded demand, said Ashok Kumar Singh, chief officer at the livestock department at the ministry.
The district produces 80,000 litres of milk daily, but demand is lower than that. While a project run by Dairy Development Corporation is purchasing 47,000 litres of milk produced in the district, the market is not secure for the other producers.
Last week, farmers in Sharnamati, Jhapa dumped their milk on the road as a sign of protest after NMC Dairy of Mechinagar, Jhapa did not purchase their products.
The farmers started rearing cows with the help of NMC Dairy operated by Nepal Multipurpose Cooperative of Mechinagar. With the dairy declining to purchase the milk, the farmers are in a fix. They complained that the dairy has not purchased their milk for a month.
Although there is no milk holiday in Ilam, farmers complained that they were not getting a good price for their milk. Demand is high in Ilam will many milk related industries operating in the district. According to the district cottage and small scale industry development committee, registrations of firms related to milk has been swelling. Currently, 102 dairy plants, 22 lollipop factories, 11 cheese factories and 63 cow and livestock rearing firms have been registered.
However, the farmers are not happy with the prices they are getting for their products. “We have to pay Rs50,000 to Rs150,000 for a cow,” said Pramod Bhandary a farmer, adding that the low price of milk had been hurting them.