Most states, including Rajasthan, have agreed to supply milk for two days a week through Mid-Day Meal and Anganwadi schemes in order to absorb surplus stock and ensure better prices to farmers, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Secretary Tarun Shridhar said.
Farmers are in distress in key milk producing states like Maharasthra because of fall in the procurement rate amid surplus milk production, piling up of skimmed milk powder (SMP) and white butter stock. There was farmers’ protest in parts of Maharashtra ten days back.
“We had asked states to arrange for supply of milk and milk products through schools and Anganwadi networks under schemes like midday meal. Rajasthan government has already confirmed that they have done,” Shridhar told PTI.
Every state is keen to do it. “It is matter of having adequate supply of milk. The states are still working on logistic issues like converting SMP to milk, storage and other issues,” he added.
Currently, the country has a stock of 2.30 lakh tonnes SMP and 60,000-70,000 tonnes of white butter.
Stating that the government is taking all possible measures to alleviate the distress of farmers, the secretary said import of whey milk powder has been hiked to 40 per cent from 30 per cent and also incentives have been provided to boost export of dairy products.
While these are short term measures, a long term policy need to be framed to ensure that such a situation does not arise in future for farmers, he said.
The top official observed that much of the focus so far has been on boosting milk production and not consumption.
Though the per capita consumption in India, the world’s largest milk producer, is above the global average of 330 grams, there is a scope for increasing the intake level to ensure nutritional security, he added.
As per the official data, milk production is estimated to have increased by 6.6 per cent to 176.35 million tonnes during the last financial year. The government expects milk production to touch 254.5 million tonnes by 2021-22. (PTI)