Milk producers in Sirajganj and Pabna continued to suffer great losses on Wednesday as they could not sell much of their produce.
Pran Dairy Ltd and Akij Food and Beverage Ltd bought milk from the farmers on Wednesday after the Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon had exempted them from the High Court order that banned 14 companies from producing and selling milk.
On Tuesday evening, Milk Vita started buying milk from Sirajganj producers following a Supreme Court exemption from the ban.
However, the farmers were left with a huge quantity of milk unsold.
Kabir Mahmud, deputy commissioner of Pabna, told this correspondent that the country's economy will suffer if the milk industry is damaged for any reason.
He also said they have sent a proposal to the ministry seeking a permanent solution to this issue.
Milk producers in Sirajganj were compelled to sell milk at throwaway prices on Tuesday as buyer companies did not purchase milk from them following the High Court directive that banned production, supply and sale of milk by 14 companies.
About one lakh producers were seen to sell milk at Tk15-20 per litre at Baghabari of Shahzadpur upazila on Monday afternoon.
Many of the farmers poured milk on the road in frustration as they did not find any buyers.
The milk producers claimed they had about one lakh litre unsold milk on Tuesday.
Around one lakh farms in Shahazadpur produce about 2 lakh litre milk every day.
Milk Vita, the state-owned company producing pasteurised milk, collects one lakh litre milk while private companies such as Pran, Aarong and Igloo purchase the rest one lakh from the farmers every day, said Baghabari Milk Vita Cooperative Society Director Samad Fakir.
“One lakh farmers at Baghabari alone have been compelled to sell their produce at throwaway prices as these companies have stopped collecting milk,” he said.
In the last two days, a litre of milk was sold in Baghabari for Tk15-20 – the price of a half litre bottled water.
Companies usually buy a litre of milk for Tk35-65 depending on the quality and sell at Tk65-70 in the market.
In the evening, however, Milk Vita started collecting milk after the Supreme Court had cleared it to produce, distribute and sell its pasteurised milk.
As the ban on other companies remained in force until afternoon, more than half of the milk produced in the farms at Baghabari remained unsold.
The ban on Pran Milk and Farm Fresh Milk was suspended for five weeks as Pran and Akij Group appealed against the ban.
Justice Md Nuruzzaman, chamber judge of the Appellate Division, gave the stay order on Tuesday afternoon, paving the way for the two companies to purchase milk from the farmers, process and market it.
Bangladesh Dairy Farm Association President Imran Hossain said there is a demand for 1.50 crore tonnes of milk in the country every year but Bangladesh produces 94 lakh tonnes. There are around 12 lakh farmers in the country.
According to statistics of the Bangladesh Livestock Directorate, the milk produced in the country meets 64.68 percent of the demand.
The High Court on Sunday directed the authorities concerned to stop production, distribution, sale, purchase and consumption of pasteurised milk of 14 companies, including Milk Vita, registered under the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution for the next five weeks as those contained substances harmful to human health.