Failure of fodder crops like maize, jowar (sorghum) and the closure of the sugarcane crushing season has amplified the crisis, with more and more farmers taking their animals to the nearest fodder camp for survival. As farmers in drought-affected regions in Maharashtra struggle to acquire fodder and water for their animals, dairies in the state have reported a significant dip in milk procurement. On an average, state dairies report procurement of 1.25 crore litres of milk per day, with cooperative dairies receiving 40 per cent and private dairies accounting for the rest.
Amul, the brand of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, reportedly procures 15 lakh litres of milk per day from the state. The Kolhapur District Cooperative Milk Producers Union, or Gokul, procures about 12 lakh litres per day.
As the effects of the drought manifest in various sectors, milk procurement by dairies has started failing due to the fodder and water crisis faced by dairy farmers. Amul has reported a 33 per cent dip in its collection from the state. Other dairies, including the ones in western Maharashtra, have reported a dip of 20-25 per cent in daily procurement.
Given the condition of the drought-affected regions, the dip in milk procurement is expected to continue for eight to nine months. Failure of fodder crops like maize, jowar (sorghum) and the closure of the sugarcane crushing season has amplified the crisis, with more and more farmers taking their animals to the nearest fodder camp for survival.
With state government measures to mitigate the crisis falling short, the number of cattle in fodder camps is expected to rise in the coming days. Officers of the state Animal Husbandry Department say the state has 1,284 operational fodder camps that are tending to 8,55,513 animals. Most of the camps are under the charge of district authorities who pay third-party vendors to run the camps. Beed, Osmanabad, Solapur and Ahmednagar districts have the largest number of fodder camps.
The dip has, however, not raised procurement price the dairies pay to the farmers. Most dairies have decided to slash their procurement price from the present Rs 25 per litre to Rs 23.