Milk retailers and dairy farmers have rejected a proposed increase in milk prices in Karachi in the latest twist in dairy politics.
This week there were rumours that prices would be jacked up Rs20. Most outlets are selling milk at Rs130 per litre.
So there was speculation it would go up to Rs150, causing alarm. But then the dairy farmers’ association said that they have nothing to do with the news of an increase in prices. So why did the rumour surface?
The spokesperson for the milk retailers association Abdul WaheedGaddi said that was started by one of the groups of dairy farmers.
“We assure the public that even after September 6, dairy products will be sold at existing prices,” said Gaddi. He said that milk retailers are not in favour of increasing prices and without their support, dairy farmers can’t act. It was not a collective decision.
Welcome to the world of dairy politics in Karachi. The ‘king’ these days is ShakirUmer Gujjar, who heads the biggest group.
You can be called the biggest if you have the livestock to match. Shakir has overpowered the Haji Akhtar Group and Salauddin Gujjar Group. And so, if he is in a position to dictate price changes.
Ashraf Jalal Gujjar, the vice president of Dairy Farmers Association–Haji Akhtar Group, said that they have not announced any increase either as they were not in favour.
Some dairy farmers side with the government, who is represented by the commissioner who sets prices.
These dairy farmers stay in the government’s good books and are compliant so they can benefit from government largesse. In fact, millions of rupees can be exchanged to persuade the authorities to fix a certain price.
Shakir Umar Gujjar, the president of the Dairy and Cattle Farmers Association, had hinted at an increase in prices from September 6.
He said that they have yet to decide anything and are consulting other stakeholders. We have a meeting scheduled with Commissioner Karachi Navid Shaikh on Monday, he said. “We will decide something in a day or two.”
We don’t want the government to crack down on retailers if we increase prices, he said. Gujjar added that it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell dairy products at existing rates as the cost of production has increased.
“We can’t sell milk below Rs150 per litre,” he argued. But the commissioner is not issuing the notification.