Milco to pass price hike benefits to dairy farmers
Accordingly, Milco Ltd. will direct officials in countrywide milk collecting centres to increase Rs. 7 per litre for the liquid milk produced by them. Milco Chairman Lasantha Wickramasinghe said the decision to increase liquid milk was taken following repeated requests made by large and small scale liquid milk producers and village farmers. The urgent need for a price hike for milk produced by them was owing to the unbearable cost incurred on grass, cow foods and medicines, vitamins, labour charges and also transportations. According to the new prices of Highland milk powder, a one-kilogram packet is sold at Rs. 1,170 while a 400-gram packet is sold at Rs. 470. The new price of a 400-gram Pelawatta milk powder packet is Rs. 460.
Meanwhile, Milking Cow Farmer Protectors Association (MCFPA) Chairman Susantha Kumara expressed his dissatisfaction over the announcement of a Rs. 7 price increase by Milco said owing to the high cost, born by milk producers and cattle farmers in producing liquid milk, authorities should increase at least Rs. 15 to 20 for one litre.
He said even cattle farmers in Hambantota, Ampara and Moneragala districts urged the Agriculture Ministry recently to drop the proposed idea of importing milking cows to Sri Lanka by spending a large sum of foreign exchange and requested officials to uplift the existing industry.
When contacted by the All Ceylon Farmer Federation (ACFF), National Organizer Namal Karunaratna said there are over 400,000 small scale milking cow farmer families in the country and the majority of them are living in the Southern Province.
He said these farmer families own nearly 1.2 million milking cows and it is more than enough to produce sufficient milk to fulfil the country’s milk requirement. He said he discussed with farmers their grievances and asked authorities to reduce the price of cattle food and medicine so that the country’s milk production could be developed to a greater extent.
Karunaratna also said it is not ethical to import milking cows spending a colossal sum of money since the country does not have an urgent need of milking cows and requested authorities to divert that money also to the country’s farmers to improve their farming facilities.