Subsidized feed prices eat into milk profits in Daraa

Enab Baladi – Halim Mohammad

Yusif, 33, is not interested in calls from a farmers’ association to register government-subsidized animal feed in the southern state of Daraa because its price does not differ from the prices in the local market. free or black market.

In front of a feed mill in Daraa’s western countryside, Yusuf selects the ingredients for the feed mixture he prepares to feed his cows.

He said Enab Baladi With prices of free market fodder converging with subsidized fodder, he resorted to buying at free price to ensure the quality of the fodder mix and did not wait until the Farmers’ Union brought fodder.

Yusif, who has three cows, added that he would like to buy feed at a discounted price, which would reduce production costs, but the associations’ work is governed by the routines of government departments and their work nodes are monitored. dignitaries given that they are “useless” after their reduced support roles to the grower and breeder.

Abdul-Rahman, 55, from Tal Shihab, west of Daraa, said the association distributed only two batches of fodder last summer.

According to Abdul-Rahman, “Basically, the amount of subsidized feed is not considered as an alternative because the delay in its arrival and its prices make the breeder rely on the black market.”

Transport tariffs behind the increase

Khalid, a former member of one of the agricultural associations in Daraa province, explained the reasons for the increase in the prices of subsidized fodder, saying that the cost of transporting the fodder is the main reason for the increase in its price, and the General Fund for Fodder transfers the Allocations to Izraa, forcing the farming associations to pay the transport fees, which the area increases with distance from Izraa.

Khalid added Enab Baladi for example, the fare from Izra to the villages of the Yarmouk basin is not less than 500,000 SYP, which prompts the association’s management to raise the concessional price to cover the transportation costs.

A former member of the Farmers’ Union believes that this has led to livestock keepers registering and waiting for subsidized feed to be allocated as prices are close to black market prices.

Due to the high price of diesel in the local market, truck drivers have raised their fees for transporting feed materials, as the price of one liter of diesel in the local market has reached about SYP 8,000.

Firas al-Sharaa, director of the feed division in Daraa province, told the state in an interview. Tishrin At the end of last September, the newspaper reported that the fodder season for cow breeders in Daraa, which started three months ago and ended at the end of last September, witnessed poor participation of breeders due to convergence of feed prices between subsidized and subsidized cows. free feed.

Al-Sharaa added that the General Fodder Fund allocated 150 kilograms per cow based on the calculation of agricultural units during the vaccination of cows against foot-and-mouth disease.

Cow keepers they lose

The price of one kilogram of feed varies according to the ingredients of the mixture, which is reflected in the increase in milk production.

An excellent feed mixture consists of soybeans (no more than ten kilograms per kilogram of feed), and some breeders replace it with equal amounts of cottonseed and corn, barley and wheat hulls (bran).

Soybean meal provides protein to cows, which helps increase milk production, while barley and corn provide energy to cattle.

The price of one kilo of soybean reached about 4,000 Syrian pounds, the price of cotton seed reached about 3,500 SYP a kilo, the price of corn reached about two 2,600 SYP and barely reached 2,700 SYP, and the price of bran reached about 1,500 SYP.

Cow farmers are still losing money due to the high cost of feed, despite the increase in milk prices, as milk sold directly to traders reaches 2,000 SYP per kilo.

This was reported by Abdul-Rahman, who raises cows in the west of Dara Enab Baladi despite the improvement in the price of milk, there is also an increase in the price of feed, as a kilo of feed reaches about 2100 SYP.

Costs are not limited to feed, as “alfalfa and sorghum grass supply” needs to be ensured. But due to scarcity of water in the Dara desert, it became difficult to cultivate it and the salaries of veterinarians and the cost of medicines, especially imported medicines, increased, along with the need to supply the grass, which cost approx. According to Abdul-Rahman, 800 Syrian pounds.

The breeder felt that the only solution to making a profit was through direct intervention of the General Fodder Fund and support to the breeders in terms of feed prices so that they could undercut the prices of private sector traders and deliver feed to headquarters at government expense. of agricultural associations.

Why Enab Baladi In the monitored cattle (cow) market, there was a stagnation in the buying and selling movement, and despite the decrease in their prices compared to 2020, the increase in production costs prompted breeders to refrain from buying and selling.

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