Monday Aug 8, 2022
Monday Aug 8, 2022

Farmers in Myagdi selling milk at middling prices

2022 Apr 13, 16:42, Myagdi

Farmer Durga Prasad Poudel of Benpa-6 Bansbot in Myagdi has been rearing buffaloes commercially for the past five years. He has complained that he may have to sell buffaloes and settle abroad after going into a loss.

Poudel, the manager of Bardan Livestock Farm, says that the farmers are facing problems due to the increase in production cost of milk along with the costs of grain, hay, straw and transportation. "I have raised 25 buffaloes. The price of grain has gone up from Rs 1,300 per bag two years ago to about 3,000 now," he said. "The price of milk is the same, though. At present, farmers like us may as well sell our cows and go abroad instead of doing business at a loss. ”

In Myagdi, farmers are selling milk at a loss of Rs 10 per liter while dairy traders are selling milk at a rate of Rs 120 with a profit of Rs 30 per liter. Suresh Dhungana, director of Dhungana Poultry Farm in Benipa-7 Kurilakharka, said that  cattle farmers here are on the verge of leaving their life in Nepal behind and going elsewhere.

About 500 people depend on 150 cow farms in Myagdi. More than 50 farmers of Ramche, Ghar and Pauddhar of Annapurna have sold their cows after the cheese industry was shut down due to the spread of coronavirus epidemic. Apart from the cheese industry, farmers are facing problems as cow milk is being consumed less in the market and the cost of buffalo milk production is becoming more expensive.

Farmer Jhalak Bahadur Katuwal of Benpa-5 Chutreni said that the livestock farmers could be broke if the price of milk cannot be adjusted according to the place and time. "We have raised buffaloes in Beni due to low consumption of cow's milk," he said.

Farmers of Myagdi have been forced to sell milk at low prices for a long time due to middlemen. Traders are making a profit of Rs 30 to 35 per liter of milk. It is difficult to get the demanded price as the farmers themselves cannot reach the consumers. Katuwal complains that the living standard of farmers who have been producing commercial milk for a long time has not improved due to middlemen. He alleged that the local government did not provide any assistance for the sale of milk.

He said that the price of milk has not gone up despite rising prices of daily necessities and food items. "The price of grain and hay to feed buffaloes is going up," he said, "But the price of milk will never go up." Earlier, milk was imported from Mallaj, Lekphant, Dhairing, Pokhara and Baglung in 42 dairies of Beni Bazaar, where people consume an average of 2,500 liters of milk daily. Milk import in Myagdi has been declining for several years now after local farmers started raising commercial cows. According to Krishna Prasad Sharma, treasurer of the Center for Modern Agriculture and Livestock Resources, only 22 farmers affiliated to the center bring 1,200 liters of milk to Beni daily.

Dairy entrepreneur Birendra Dhungana said that the government body should adjust the price according to the cost of milk production which has increased due to the high transportation cost. "One or two entrepreneurs alone cannot do it," he said. "If farmers are in trouble, government agencies should coordinate and facilitate."

There are commercial cattle farms in Arthunge, Khabara, Ratnechaur, Bagarphant, Baskuna, Singa, Simalchaur, Baranga, Ghatan, Toripani, Patlekhet, Ghar, Pauddhar and Ramche of Myagdi. According to the Veterinary Hospital and Veterinary Services Expert Center, 4,724 metric tonnes of milk are produced annually from 9,347 cows and 16,286 buffaloes reared in Myagdi. The youth have become self-employed by raising livestock as an alternative to foreign employment.


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