The deadly coronavirus pandemic has left the country devastated and has taken everyone’s life for a toss. The pandemic has also affected many businesses beyond repair. Anguished with the public’s lowered demand, dairy farmers in Kashmir dumped thousands of litres of milk in the drain. The farmers blamed the COVID-19 lockdown for their plight. In Pulwama district of the Valley, tormented farmers brought trucks loaded with milk cans to Industrial Estate Lassipora and threw them all in the drain. Pulwama is the highest milk-producing district in the Valley. Dairy farmers faced rejection at the dairy plants at the Industrial Estate. Dairy plants turned down the farmers owing to subdued demand for milk and milk products amid COVID lockdown. And later farmers also failed to find buyers.
Talking to NDTV, one of the dairy farmers said that for over a month they have been selling only 40% of the total milk production. He said that there are no buyers because of lockdown. Rafiq Ahmad, who owns 40 cows, relies on sale of the milk for his bread and butter. Ahmad shared that his inability to sell milk has not only affected his livelihood. But also, because of the same, his cows are on the verge of starvation. Ahmad is out of money to buy fodder for his cows.
One of the milk processing plants in Lassipora Industrial Estate, Zum Zum was purchasing 22,000 litres from dairy farmers before COVID lockdown came into being. Today the number has dropped to 10,000 litres.
Dairy plant owners also expressed their concern over the reduced demand for milk from the market. He informed that due to poor sales, the dairy plant has also reduced its procurement to 50-60 percent.
After receiving disheartening news from various dairy plants, dozens of farmers concluded to dump their milk in a drain. Farmers said that it is painful for them to throw milk, but they don’t have any other choice.
Another dairy farmer appealed to the Governor to intervene and come to their rescue. They urged the authorities to save them and their cows in these adverse times as they are left with very little hope of survival. Sajad Ahmad informed that he had spent over Rs. 300 daily to feed a cow. But he is not able to feed her now because the milk is not getting sold. He further informed that he had taken a loan from a bank to set up a dairy farm. But all his dreams along with the milk have gone into the drain.