Lockdown makes factors worse for Pabna milk producers

April 07, 2021 Business
The ongoing countrywide lockdown has made things worse for the milk producers in Pabna and Sirajganj, who've already been experiencing poor sales because of a slump in local consumption.

In a bid to tame the alarming rate of coronavirus infections across Bangladesh, the federal government announced a seven-day lockdown that commenced on Monday.

During this period, restrictions on consumer movements will be enforced, rendering it difficult for local milk customers to travel to the marketplace as transportation facilities happen to be limited.

Besides, whether or not milk creation continues, the closure of sweetmeat shops and other businesses that use milk as a good raw material has resulted in a slump found in sales, the producers said.

If the lockdown is prolonged, marginal dairy farmers in both major milk generating districts might face huge losses.

Md Khalilur Rahman, a marginal dairy farmer of Per-Faridpur village found in Pabna's Faridpur upazila, told The Daily Star that his farm makes 40 to 50 litres of milk each day.

He sells about 20 litres to the Pran collection center while the remainder would go to local hotels and sweetmeat shops.

"But due to the lockdown, We am unable to find clients for the rest of the 20 litres after supplying Pran," Rahman said.

Md Saiful Islam, president of the Per-Faridpur Milk Maker Cooperative Contemporary society, echoed the same.

"Since most of the shops and people transport have already been shut, most regional consumers are unable to visit the markets," he said.

Moreover, the oversupply of milk provides pulled down milk rates, causing another significant damage for the farmers, who've already been suffering from increased production costs because of the soaring rates of cattle feed, he said.

"Hence we urged the federal government to help the farmers ride away this crisis."

According to regional livestock officers, they have taken actions to rescue the farmers.

"Since consumption may fall amid the lockdown, we asked processing factories to accumulate extra milk from the farmers," said Md Aktaruzzaman Bhuiyan, district livestock officer of Sirajganj.

The state-owned Baghabari Milk Vita factory, Bangladesh's biggest dairy factory, is the primary consumer of milk made by marginal farmers in both Pabna and Sirajganj.

Apart from Milk Vita, other important companies like Pran and Brac established collection centres over the several districts, which collectively procedure about 20 lakh litres of milk daily.

The private companies consume about 50 % of the full total daily production while the rest is sold at regional markets both outside and inside the districts.

"Milk vita and various other milk processing corporations have continued production so there is no problem for the neighborhood farmers," Md Abdulla Al Mamun, district livestock officer of Pabna, told The Daily Celebrity.

Besides, the demand might upsurge in the upcoming Ramadan, he said.

Md Shariful Islam, in-demand of the Pran milk collection center at Baghabari in Sirajganj's Shahzadpur upazila, said they collect around 650 litres of milk from farmers each day.

"Our company continued common production in the lockdown as a result we are investing in milk from the farmers as normal," he added.