Pulwama, May 24: Dairy farmers across Kashmir are bearing the brunt of lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 as demand for milk and its byproducts has come down considerably.
Dairy farmers across the Valley are worried as they aren’t even able to sell their 50 percent of the produce due to which their cows are on verge of starvation and their livelihood is at a stake.
Visibly upset farmers said that five milk processing units are functional at Industrial estate Lassipora which includes Zum Zum, Nemat , Haleeb, Insha and Al-Bakr, however, all of them have limited their procurement to 40 percent.
Muhammad Rafiq , a dairy farmer from Turkwangam, Shopian said that he has 40 cows at his farm, however, he is unable to sell milk.
He said that on a daily basis he used to give 2000 litres to a milk processing unit but now “I am selling just around 500 liters as there is no demand in the market.”
“All shops, hotels and business establishments are shut and there is no demand due to which they are forced to dump thousands of liters of milk in drains,” he said.
Manzoor Ahmad, another dairy farmer said that as they are unable to sell our milk “we are unable to bring fodder to Cows.”
“We were selling milk and were bringing, feed and other items for our cows but when we are forced to sell our milk, how can bring fodder to them, he said, adding that our livelihood is dependent on our cows,” Manzoor said, adding that “our cows are on verge of starvation and our livelihood is at stake.”
Shafaat Ahmad, an owner of one of the milk processing unit said that they were getting milk from Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and even parts of Chadoora area of Budgam, however, as government imposed restrictions, “we have limited our to procurement to 40 percent.”
He said that dairy farmers are suffering a lot as most of them are directly dependent on this sector.
Shafaat said that most of the dairy farmers are run by highly qualified youth who supported the government in opening dairy farms.
Farmers said that they have no other option left other than to throw away the milk in drains as there are no buyers. They requested government to help them in this situation by shifting their milk produce to different parts of J&K so that they won’t suffer more losses.