LAHORE: Harris Ali Mithani, head of the Dairy, Agriculture and Livestock Farmers Association (DALFA), said on Thursday that despite being the world’s fourth-largest milk producer, the growing problem of malnutrition among young children in Pakistan is a national tragedy.
Due to rising inflation in Pakistan and the rapidly declining purchasing power of the people, it is becoming more and more difficult for the poor and low-income class to get a blessing like milk.
Unfortunately, despite being self-sufficient in milk production, the rate of stunting due to malnutrition in children under five years of age in Pakistan is 38pc while in Sindh it is 50pc in 4 out of 10 children are malnourished in Pakistan.
According to Mithani, the Dairy, Agriculture and Livestock Farmers’ Association is a representative innovative organization representing farmers in Pakistan’s agriculture, livestock and dairy sector. DALFA seeks to alleviate the problems faced by farmers in Pakistan’s agriculture, livestock and dairy sectors, as well as to alleviate the plight of the inflation-stricken people.
Dairy, Agriculture and Livestock Farmers Association have decided to introduce a system of the wholesale and retail price of milk in proportion to the fat content of milk, offering a lasting solution to this long-standing problem of the people and farmers.
In the outdated system of milk prices, the price of standard and substandard milk is fixed at the same price, which on the one hand leads to losses for hard-working farmers who produce high-quality milk by investing a lot of efforts and money, on the other hand, substandard milk selling at a fixed price exploits the public.
Mithani said to provide a solid solution to this problem, the farmers have agreed on the proposal to sell milk in terms of fat ratio. Comprehensive recommendations for the implementation of this proposal will be submitted to the Sindh Government and the city administration soon so that the aggrieved farmers can get relief due to the people who are suffering from inflation and are not getting a fair price in terms of cost and labour. The easy solution is to sell milk at an unofficial price, but the people have to bear the brunt of this in the form of inflation.
Mithani suggested to the city administration that in terms of the current cost, 5pc fat milk can be sold at Rs 3840 per maund, out of which 3.150 kg cream can be obtained, 5.5pc fat milk can be sold at Rs4224 per maund out of which 3.465 kg of cream will be obtained.
Similarly, milk with 6pc fat can be sold at Rs4608 per maund out of which 3.780kg cream can be extracted. Milk with 6.5pc fat can be sold at Rs4992 per maund from which 4.095 kg cream can be extracted.
He maintained that dairy farmers have agreed to sell buffalo milk at 5pc fat and cow’s milk at 3.5pc fat as per Sindh Food Authority standards and provincial laws so that farmers can offset their rising cost from rising commodity prices.
He said by fixing the price of milk as per fat ratio the consumers can get fresh and healthy milk at the price of Rs100 to Rs120 per litre.
If the suggested formula of “rate as per fat” is implemented there will be no need for “continuous increase in the price of milk.” he added.
Fat based mechanism of price determination will be a win-win situation for all stakeholders including farmers, fat brokers, shopkeepers and consumers. It will set the “quality” only criteria of selling fresh milk in the market, Mithani concluded.