Lack of sale frustrates Rajbari dairy farmers

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Despite continuing to produce thousands of liters of milk every day, they are forced to dump most of it due to lack of sales

Closure of restaurants and hotels in Rajbari, as well as inactivity at sweetmeat factories are causing more than 200 dairy farmers in the district to incur huge losses.

Despite continuing to produce thousands of liters of milk every day, they are forced to dump most of it due to lack of sales.

Visiting Episode Agro Ltd, adairy and cattle fattening farm, in Aladipur village under Alipur union of Sadar upazila, 300 unmilked cattle were found unable to move and workers were reluctant to milk them as well.

Only a small amount of milk was extracted from the cows, which had been donated to the marginalized people near the farm.

Mizanur Rahman, managing director of Episode Agro, said he established the farm after taking a bank loan back in 2013.

Currently he had 300 cows, 200 calves and 220 premium bulls. They help in producing 900 liters of milk every day.

“But after the coronavirus outbreak since March, hotels and restaurants in the district which used to buy milk from us all closed down. None of the companies are purchasing milk from us as well. I have 24 workers in the farm, I do not know how I can pay their wages after March,” he added.

He lamented counting losses of Tk1.5 lakh every day since March 10, not to mention a supply shortage of cow feed and medicines as well.

He urged the government to support the dairy farmers in the district.

Md Saddam, a worker at Episode Agro, has been working there for four years now. He remained skeptical about how his employer would pay his wages if milk remained unsold.

Md Zahid, a retail dairy farmer in Char Kesthapur area of Sadar upazila, rears five cows and five bulls.

He said there was a shortage of cattle feed in the district, which, adding up with the crisis of unsold milk, may put dairy farmers like him out of business.

Department of Livestock official in the district Dr Md Fazlul Haque said that the farmers were really helpless in this situation.

“We are advising them not to dump milk, but rather preserve it and convert it into butter, as well as clarified butter (ghee) for sale in local markets.