Sirajganj dairy farmers face trouble again

19 April 2021

The dairy farmers of Shahjadpur upazila in Sirajganj district have run into trouble again as the ongoing lockdown has choked the sales of milk they produce.
Shahjadpur upazila produces over two million litres of milk a day, but now thousands of litres of milk are wasted due to drop in its sales and lack of storage facilities, the farmers claimed.
As the demand for milk in the open market is declining due to the closure of sweetshops, tea stalls and lack of people at village haats and markets, farmers are counting huge losses.
Visiting different areas of the upazila, correspondent of news agency UNB found many of the farmers staging protests by dumping milk on the streets. Many farmers were also seen roaming at local markets to sell off cows as no option is left for them.
According to Sirajganj District Livestock office, a milk-processing factory was set up in 1983 in Sirajganj by Milk Vita, a cooperative state-owned enterprise. The upazila saw the mushrooming of cattle farms within years.
Milk Vita now collects 225,000 litres of milk from the dairy farms every day. Currently, 15,380 cooperative-based cattle farms in the district produce 20,50,000 litres of milk a day from about 1.05 million cattle.
According to the farmers, the cost of cattle rearing has increased steadily since the breakout of the coronavirus last year, but milk price has not gone up accordingly.
Besides, more and more cattle have been falling sick these days due to the consumption of adulterated fodder. Many cattle die of various diseases regularly, forcing the farmers to sell the ones that are alive at low price.
Abdus Samad Fakir, a local dairy farmer and director of Shahjadpur Milk Vita, said big dairy feed-producing companies, including Aarong and Igloo buy around 350,000 litres of milk every day. The remaining milk is sold to sweetshops and restaurants across the country, including Dhaka.
Sanwar Hossain, owner of Jamirta Farm, said opportunities for various economic activities have been created in Shahjadpur centering milk production. Some people transport milk while some others buy cow dung and make manure and many others cultivate grass and sell that.

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