PAKISTAN - A milk crisis seems to be surfacing as a retailers' association has staged a protest and sit-in against the crackdown by the police on dairy milk retailers outside the Karachi Press Club on Saturday.
Retailers of Alfalah Milk Retailers' Welfare Association claimed that the price-hiking issue of milk has been causing huge losses to milk-sellers for more than a month since dairy farmers continue to sell them milk at higher rates.
They have written many times to the commissioner, reminding him of the ongoing increase in the price of milk by wholesalers. Instead of taking action against the wholesalers and farmers who have been selling milk on their own terms, the police have started a crackdown over small retailers and shopkeepers.
Talking to Daily Times, Aijaz Quraishi, the president of the association said: "We are buying milk at higher rates of 82.10p, how can we sell it at Rs. 80?" adding that they can no longer continue with these losses. "It has been almost a month since we have been waiting; hoping for a positive outcome but there has been no progress," he added.
"The city government exercises no control on dairy farmers and wholesalers, while retailers are being continuously fined at least Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 and are being jailed for seven days," he complained.
Aijaz Quraishi said that the commissioner had called a meeting on 27 February 2017 to hear the wholesalers and retailers out about their complaints and issues but could not come to a solid conclusion as they had refused to agree on any of the points. The commissioner gave the farmers and wholesalers an ultimatum of a week but could not manage to bring it down.
Meanwhile, a wholesaler named Zahoor said that the wholesalers are mere middle-men and are not responsible for price-fixing, adding that prices are fixed by the administration while they are just asked to sell milk at that given price.
"We have been protesting since noon but no one has contacted us yet. They warned us that they would wait till 10 pm to see if there is any development in meeting their demands, or else the association will be free to decide the future course of action," Zahoor said.
On the other hand, the president of the Dairy Farmers Association, Haji Akhtar, said that they sell milk at Rs. 75 due to pressure exerted by the government.
The farmers allegedly suffer a lot due to low income and many have had to sell their cattle while others have moved to Punjab and interior Sindh to their hometowns due to lack of business.
TheCattleSite News Desk