Summer is not good for livestock rearing farmers in Gelephu. There is hardly any buyer of diary products.
It has been almost two weeks that the Gelephu Om Detshen stopped accepting the regular quantity of milk from farmers, who are members of the group.
One of the highest milk-selling farmers, Gopi Krishna Khatirwara, has two milking cows. He draws at least 20 litres of milk from the two. When the milk booth informed the farmers not to bring the evening milk to the diary, he was worried. He also collects milk from three other households.
“This is our main source of income and we can’t afford to not sell it,” he said.
He negotiated with some hotels and Indian merchants and has found buyers. But farmers like Gopi Krishna Dhimal has no option but to process the surplus milk into cheese and butter and sell them at a lower price than milk.
Gopi Krishna Dhimal has three milking cows. The evening milk is processed into other diary products.
“It is often difficult to sell cheese and butter during summer as it spoils quickly,” he said. “For us, selling milk is more profitable.”
The milk booth stopped accepting milk after the booth began facing huge loss when there was surplus milk. For instance, last month 12,062 litres of milk arrived at the milk booth. The booth could sell 8,234 litres only at a cost of Nu 40 a litre. The remaining 3,228 litres was processed into butter, cheese and buttermilk. About 64.25kg of butter, 1,090 balls of cheese and 1,340 litres of buttermilk was produced.
Chairman of the milk group, Devi Charan Bhattarai, said that although no milk was thrown away, the amount of money fetched after selling other diary products and milk itself is different. The group faced a loss of Nu 53,530 last month.
“Other diary products such a cheese, butter or buttermilk fetch less money than milk,” he said. “We can’t afford to continue facing such huge losses.”
Devi Charan, however, explained that all the milk was not rejected. And it was a joint decision after discussion with all members of the group. On May 14, a meeting was called wherein farmers were informed that the milk booth was not able to sell milk and the group faced huge loss. It was decided that the milk booth would not accept evening milk, which spoils quickly.
Nirmala Pokhrel | Gelephu