Deadline for Payments to Dairy Farmers Expires Today with No Payments Made Yet

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Deadline for Payments to Dairy Farmers Expires Today with No Payments Made Yet

KATHMANDU: The deadline for payment of dues to the dairy farmers by industrialists expires today, Thursday. The government, the farmers and the industrialists had reached an agreement on June 30 to settle arrears up to mid-April by July 11. Despite this, industrialists have not made the payments, even as the deadline approaches.

Kishore Bagale, chairman of the Chitwan District Milk Producers' Cooperative Association, expressed frustration, stating that the government and industrialists often agree with farmers but fail to honor these agreements. He noted that none of the farmers in Chitwan have received their payments. Farmers in Chitwan are yet to receive Rs 720 million from various dairy industries.

Bagale pointed out the irony that agreements witnessed by the Ministry of Agriculture have not been implemented. He emphasized that if the government-owned Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) had made payments to the farmers, it would have pressured private dairies to follow suit. Unfortunately, the DDC did not make the payments.

"There's no point in expecting payments from the private sector," he remarked.

Previously, the three parties agreed to pay farmers on 12 December , 2023 and 2 March , 2024. When these agreements were not implemented, a third agreement was reached on June 30.

Dairy farmers staged a street protest in Kathmandu a few days ago demanding payment. The government cracked down on the protest. The latest agreement set a deadline for the dairy industry to pay farmers by July 11 for arrears up to mid-April. Additionally, arrears for mid-April to mid-June must be paid by mid-September. The agreement also stipulated that the dairy industry must pay for milk purchases in two installments each month.

Thaneshwar Sapkota, chairman of the Central Milk Producers Cooperative Association, stated that despite the agreement to pay arrears by July 11, farmers have not received any payments. He lamented that farmers have been cheated once again.

Farmers are yet to receive about Rs 4 billion from the DDC and private dairy industries, with DDC alone owing around Rs 2 billion. Among private dairies, Sujal Dairy, Rajdhani Dairy, Gayatri Dairy, and Tulsa Dairy owe the most to the farmers.

A farmer on condition of anonymity reported that some dairies have not paid and even threatened farmers with a "milk holiday" if they demanded payment.

Rajkumar Dahal, president of Rajdhani Dairy, denied these allegations, claiming that Rajdhani Dairy owes only about Rs 4-5 million out of a total of Rs 40 million.

"We have already paid most of them. Farmers from whom we have not bought milk have made allegations against us. We are paying the amount we owe to farmers," he said.

Rajendra Prasad Mishra, secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, assured that payments would be made as soon as possible, even if not within the specified timeframe, as the ministry is processing loans for the DDC.

"The DDC has requested a loan of Rs 600 million from the Ministry of Agriculture. We submitted the proposal to the Ministry of Finance, and we hope for a decision by today, July 11," he said.


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