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Signing of RCEP Deal Would Badly Harm Indian Dairy Sector: Swadesh Jagran Manch

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia

RSS- affiliated Swadesh Jagran Manch (SJM) on Wednesday urged the central government not to sign Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact for import of cheaper milk and milk products from foreign states which will have an adverse impact on country’s dairy products and the economy as well. 

India should resist the pressure from Australia and New Zealand to include the dairy sector in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact because the import of cheaper milk and milk products would adversely hit the livelihood of 50 million milk producers in the country, said SJM. 

"This will prove to be the most suicidal step by the government of India since independence," stressed the organization in a statement. 

As reported, the government is examining to finalize RCEP, a trade block which includes China, Australia and New Zealand, apart from 10 ASEAN countries, Japan and South Korea. New Zealand and Australia who are trying to negotiate very hard with India to reduce the duty on dairy products so that they can get access to India, which is the world's largest market of dairy products, said SJM. 

It also stressed that the signing of RCEP would lead to the destruction of the dairy sector in India which ultimately leads to a reduction in procurement price of milk from farmers due to cheap imported milk powder from New Zealand. Today, the farmer gets nearly Rs 28-30 per litre of milk, from milk processors, from cooperative and even other private players. This procurement price would come down drastically if imports are allowed through RCEP. 

On the other hand, it will also result in approximately 50 million rural people losing their jobs as they will be forced to quit the unremunerated dairying. This may, in turn, push India to depend ever upon imports for dairy products like in case of edible oils and thus threaten India's food security, SJM said. 

"It’s unfortunate that officials of Centre of Regional Trade, an autonomous body under Ministry of Commerce have been supporting the offer to reduce tariffs on milk and its products, by twisting the data of India’s milk production and projecting a huge shortage of milk in India in coming 10 years," it said. 

As per a report brought out by Niti Aayog in Feb 2018, the demand for milk will be 292 million tonnes (mt), against which India will produce 330 mt milk by 2033. Thus, India will be surplus in milk products and the question of imports does not arise. National Dairy Development Board and even international organizations like FAO and IFCN have projected a similar trend. 

The organization also reminded Prime Minister Modi about the promise of doubling farmers' income by 2022 and said that this step will actually reduce farmer’s income which will force dairy farmers to leave dairy farming. 


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