Panaji, August 4: Goa government is open for allowing Gujarat-based Surat District Cooperative Milk Producers Union (SUMUL) to expand its activities in the coastal state, state Co-operation minister Mahadev Naik said today.
"If there is a proposal (from SUMUL) we don't mind giving them an opportunity to expand their operations in all the talukas of Goa," Naik told the State Legislative Assembly, even as Independent MLA Naresh Sawal alleged that SUMUL was collecting milk from Goa and transporting it to Gujarat.
SUMUL, which began its operations in Goa in February this year, is operational in Sanguem, Quepem, Canacona and Sattari talukas, while its rival Goa Dairy has pan-Goa presence.
Raising the issue on the floor of the House, Sawal feared that SUMUL will enjoy the support price provided by Goa government and would wrap up its operations soon to go back to Gujarat.
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, intervening during the Question Hour, said, "Support price is provided to dairy farmers and not SUMUL."
Parsekar said SUMUL has been allowed to operate in a few talukas, but looking at their functioning, farmers from other areas have also represented to the state government to allow the Gujarat-based dairy to collect milk from them.
"It is an ideal situation, if competition between two dairies (SUMUL and Goa Dairy) help farmers," the chief minister said, adding that Goa has a major shortfall in milk production, which could not be mended despite providing schemes to the dairy farmers.
Responding to a question, Naik said SUMUL has enrolled 350 farmers, and it pays 0.15 per cent cess on the milk to the state government. He said there are 4,700 dairy farmers in the state and it collects Rs 1.85 crore in the form of cess on the milk.