Dairy farmers increase milk price by Rs23 a litre

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KARACHI: The Karachi Dairy Farmers Association on Wednesday unilaterally increased the milk price by Rs23 a litre; now the commodity would be available at Rs120 per litre at retail outlets, triggering a wave of anger among the consumers already burdened by growing inflation.

The association said that the government had refused to increase the price despite repeated requests, which “forced” the farmers to take the decision on their own.

“We met government officials and put our case before them, but they did not pay any heed to it,” said Shakir Gujjar of the association. “The prices of fodder have increased manifold coupled with higher fuel prices, which increase the transport cost.”

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The government moved in to check the price, but only after the increase in the prices was announced by the farmers. The city administration claimed to have launched a crackdown on milk retailers selling the daily use commodity at an excessive rate.

Official sources said that the price of milk was notified at Rs94 per litre by the city administration, while a large number of milk sellers sold it at prices ranging from Rs100 to Rs180.

Also Read: Lessons from economic history: Policy drivers of food inflation

They said that most of the milk shops had unilaterally fixed the price at Rs100 per litre, which was illegal. The officials said that the city administration teams raided several milk shops and imposed fines on shop owners for selling milk at a price higher than the notified rate.

Officials said that the deputy commissioners had been told to take strict action against those selling milk at an excessive price. They said that the city administration officers raided several shops in district East and imposed a total fine of Rs103,000 on shopkeepers for selling milk at higher prices. The officials said that one of the shopkeepers was arrested for overcharging.

The provincial government also asked the city administration to take stern action against those who had arbitrarily increased prices of milk by around 30 per cent by violating the law.

Read: Inflation hits 9.4pc, highest in five years

Sindh Minister for Agriculture, Supply and Prices Ismail Rahu asked the city commissioner and deputy commissioners of the six districts of the provincial capital to launch a crackdown on dairy farmers and milk sellers who were involved in fleecing the people when the month of Ramazan was approaching.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2019

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