Pakistan News

Farmers want heavy duty on milk powder import

Farmers want heavy duty on milk powder import

LAHORE: The Kissan Ittehad Pakistan on Tuesday demanded that the government impose heavy duty on import of milk powder and whey powder as unchecked import is badly hurting the dairy farmers.

Addressing a press conference here, KIP President Khalid Mahmood Khokhar says because of this import the milk is neither purchased by commercial buyers nor they pay market price. “Livestock has 55 per cent share in country’s agriculture and we should not forget the fact that we are an agrarian economy.”

He says millions of landless farmers are in the livestock rearing process and the revenue from milk is the sole income source for them.

Milking animals is an integral part of rural economy in the country and farmers who have two to 10 animals are in millions. These dairy farmers are unable to sell their milk as middlemen and buyers have started fabricating milk through skimmed milk powder and whey powder, he says.

According to Khokhar, consumers are also being cheated by these ‘fraudulent elements’ as consumers believe they are buying fresh milk but they are being sold fabricated product.

He says average farm gate price a dairy farmer gets is Rs40 per litre whereas consumers are buying milk for over Rs100 per litre.

He says the situation is worst in south Punjab where dairy farmers are hardly getting Rs32 per litre.

He says Pakistan has the lowest import duty on milk powder and whey powder in the region which is just 20 per cent for Saarc countries and 25pc for rest of the world.

The KIP leader says India has imposed 68pc duty on dry milk import whereas Turkey clamped 180pc duty on dry milk import just to protect their dairy farmers and to become self-sufficient in milk production.

Citing Indian example, he says farmers get a number of incentives and subsidy from the government whereas in Pakistan farmers are facing high input cost and are deprived of right price for their milk. “If the Pakistan government cannot provide incentives to farmers just like the Indian’s, it should at least provide a level playing-field for local farmers.”

He appreciated Minister for Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan for listening to the issues of farmers and taking up the matter at high level.

He alleged that the stakeholders have been trying to influence the policy makers with their twisted facts as an effort to divert the government’s attention from the real issues.

He says the Punjab government sent a dairy association delegation to Turkey for studying its dairy sector. “Upon return, it made a presentation to the government in which they mentioned everything except that Turkish government imposed 180pc duty on the import of milk powders. This intentional selection of the facts clearly shows that the association is no more willing to favour the farming community but is now looking for their own vested interests.”

He says the association has recently written a letter to the Ministry of Food Security and Research in which it has accepted that they do not pack the fresh milk, instead use powder and other ingredients to manufacture the products.

He says out of total UHT market hardly 42pc is packed as milk while 58pc is other than milk products including dairy liquids and tea whiteners; these products are made entirely from imported dry milk.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2015

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