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Frustrated dairy farmers dump unsold milk in Pabna

  • Published at 12:09 am July 30th, 2019

The protest follows the High Court ban on the production, distribution and sales of pasteurized milk

Frustrated by the High Court order that banned the production and sales of pasteurized milk, more than 50 dairy farmers in Pabna dumped all their unsold milk on the streets in protest. 

The demonstration took place in the district’s Bhangura upazila yesterday afternoon. 

Prior to that, the farmers formed a human chain, staged protests against the court order for about half an hour. Farmers and managers of dairy cooperatives from several villages under the upazila took part in the demonstration.

Speaking at the demonstration, the protesting farmers said there are 745 small and medium dairy farms in the Bhangura upazila, and around 2,200 more farms of different scales, who collectively produce around 65,000 litres of milk on average every day. 

About 80% of this milk is procured by 28 purchase and cooling units of companies like Milk Vita, Aarong, Pran, Akij and Baro Aulia. But after the court order, the farmers are in trouble with such a huge amount of unsold milk. 

Expressing his frustration, dairy farmer Hasinur Rahman said: “I took Tk3 lakh loan to by two cows for my farm three months ago. I have to pay a monthly instalment of Tk30,000 to pay off the loan. If I cannot sell the milk I produce in my farm, how can I repay my loan, or look after my cows?”

Golam Hasnain Rasel, mayor of Bhangura municipality and a dairy farmer himself, said: “If the milk is being adulterated, it is being done by the milk companies. Why should the farmers be punished for that?” 

The High Court on Sunday ordered 14 registered companies – including popular brands like Milk Vita, Pran and Aarong – to stop production, distribution and sales of their pasteurized milk across Bangladesh for five weeks.

The court issued the ban as four separate lab reports showed that the pasteurized milk distributed by the 14 companies contained harmful substances for the human body.

However, the Supreme Court has exempted Milk Vita, a nationwide government cooperative of dairy farmers, from the ban for eight weeks. 

Chamber Judge Md Nuruzzaman of the Appellate Division issued the order yesterday, only a day after the High Court issued the ban, after the Milk Vita authorities filed a petition seeking a stay on the High Court order.