By Wakil ur Rehman
Dairy farmers in Karachi are active once again to increase the price of milk, with authorities having lost their writ long ago.
Representatives from dairies have told malik retailers that the prices would be increased by Rs10 per litre from Monday, November 8.
If the dairy farmers are able to push the hike successfully, the price of milk will climb to Rs140 per litre.
Malik retailers say the increase in the price of milk was announced twice in September but it could not be implemented as not everyone in the supply chain agreed with the decision.
The earlier two announcements were made by one group and the other groups did not support them.
There are three major associations of dairy farmers in the city: Dairy Farmers Association of Karachi (Haji Akhtar Group), Dairy & Kettle Farmers Association (Shakir Omar Group) and Karachi Dairy Farmers Association (Sikandar Nagori Group).
On September 6, the Shakir Omar Group had announced an increase in the price of milk by Rs30. It made another announcement on September 22, saying the price would be increased by Rs45 per litre. But the other two groups did not support Shakir Omar and the prices remained unchanged.
Now, the Haji Akhtar Group has told the retailers that they would be supplied milk at an increased rate and the prices would rise by Rs10 per litre, according to the retailers.
Would the Shakir Omar group support the move?
Talking to SAMAA Digital, Shakir Omar said, “Dairy farmers are worried about the rising costs. Whoever announces the price hike, we will support it.”
He said the Rs10 hike was not enough but he thought it was good if prices increase gradually.
Milk Retailers Welfare Association Spokesman Abdul Waheed Gaddi, when contacted, confirmed reports that dairy farmers had announced a price hike.
He said that it was the responsibility of the government to fix the price of milk but the government agencies had failed to do so and consequently the dairy farmers had the justification to increase the price.
It should be noted that the official price of milk is Rs94 per litre as compared to the Rs130 per litre market price across the city.
A meeting was held in the office of the Karachi Commissioner on November 4. According to the dairy farmers who participated in the meeting, issues related to the production cost of milk were discussed in the meeting but no decision was taken to increase the price.