Fodder shortage affecting dairy farmers in Mangalore

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Mangalore, Oct 23: The Dakshina Kannada District Milk Producers' Forum will organise a conference of dairy farmers here on November 4. It is to create awareness among them and discuss measures to be taken to save the sector from the threat of closure. As many as 10,000 farmers are expected to attend the conference, which will be held on the premises of the Dakshina Kannada Cooperative Milk Producers' Union Ltd. at Kulashekara.

According to P S Rammohan, president of the forum and Krishna Bhat, organising secretary, due to the increase in cost of production many dairy farmers in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts are giving it up. The cost of producing a litre of milk has gone up from Rs. 21.25 in 2007 to Rs. 27.80 in 2008. This year, the government is providing Rs. 2 as subsidy a litre. Hence, farmers have to bear Rs. 25.80 as production cost. Farmers get Rs. 12.70 a litre of milk from sales to milk producers" cooperative societies. Mr. Rammohan and Mr. Bhat said that the two districts were facing a dearth of fodder. Farmers were dependent on fodder being supplied from other districts. That was the main reason for the cost of production going up. A kg of cattle feed which cost between Rs. 8 and Rs. 10 a few years ago had now gone up to Rs. 22 a kg, they said.

There were 620 milk producers cooperative societies in the two districts. Of them about 100 societies were facing the threat of closure. According to an estimate about 10,000 farmers had given up dairy farming in the two districts in the last one year.

The forum has demanded that the Government fix Rs. 20 as the price for a litre of milk. It should recognise the two districts as special zones to declare special benefits for dairy farmers, it added.

Mr. Bhat said that youths from families of dairy farmers were migrating to urban areas in search of white collar jobs. The conference would throw light on such aspects and deliberate upon the measures to be adopted, he added.

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