Fix MSP, Odisha milk producers urge Centre

By TheHindu on 24 Nov 2016

The Odisha Milk Farmers’ Association (OMFA) on Monday sought intervention of Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh to ensure milk farmers get minimum support price for their produce.

The OMFA drew attention of Mr. Singh in the wake of the Odisha State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation (OMFED) recently reducing procurement.

“Fourteen per cent of the State population depend on dairy for their livelihood. OMFED, the State-level nodal agency for its procurement and marketing, has recently made the matters worse. OMFED, which was collecting around 6 lakhs litres of milk per day at an average price of Rs.26 per litre, has reduced its procurement by 31 per cent,” said Rabi Behera, president of Samajwadi Party and OMFA chairman.

“Odisha is reeling under severe drought. Farmers of 28 districts have lost their major crops. The alternative source of livelihood for these farmers is milk. But the decision has jeopardised their survival strategy,” Mr. Behera said.

On May 6, OMFA had organised a protest by pouring milks in front of Odisha Legislative Assembly.

“OMFED should be directed to purchase and procure all milk from the farmers. The Centre should convene a meeting of the State Agriculture Ministers to fix minimum support price (MSP) of milk at Rs. 30 per litre,” demanded OMFA secretary Narayan Dalua.

Besides, they urged the Union Minister to take steps so that dairy, poultry and fish farmers avail interest-free loans.

“At present, banks are charging 12 per cent annual interest from these categories of farmers. This hampers self employment opportunities for the jobless rural youths,” Mr. Behera said.

OMFA demanded secretaries of each of the 3,649 Primary Milk Co-operative Societies be given daily wage of Rs.200. The association insisted on insurance coverage for milk farmers, cows and buffalos.

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