By Makarand Gadgil
Reeling under the drought, the state is now experiencing fall in the production of milk and consequent increase in price. The average production in Maharashtra has fallen by 24 lakh litres per day, increasing milk rates by Rs 24 per litre.
The state’s average milk production is 1.32 crore litres per day. However, it fell to 1.19 crore litres per day in February and then to 1.08 crore litres per day in March.
The major reason behind the drop in milk production is non availability of water and fodder for the cattle.One portion of fodder made from jowar is now costing farmers Rs 40-45, at least Rs 10-15 more than normal. Besides, nearly 5 lakh cattle are in more than 1,000 state-run or NGO-run cattle camps where they are fed bare minimum fodder and water to survive.
Maharashtra is facing one of the worst droughts. The state received only 77 per cent of the average rainfall during last year’s monsoon. The government is expected to spend around Rs 12,000 crore on various drought mitigation measures.
Farm rights activist Giridhar Patil said, “The state should come out with a comprehensive policy for compensating farmers. If it starts compensating individuals for crops or products then it creates distortion in the market.” He said, “Though prices have risen, farmers aren’t getting the benefit, the middlemen are.”