Visakhapatnam, Sept. 19
Floods and recurring depressions in the Bay of Bengal during the past two months have caused extensive damage to agriculture in the north-coastal districts, though they have proved beneficial to some chronically rain-deficient upland areas.
The dairy sector in particular seems to have been badly hit and the Visakha Co-op Dairy, the prime milk supplier in the four districts (Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari), and the numerous private dairies are unable to procure as much milk as they used to.
According to a rough estimate, 5.5-6 lakh litres of milk is procured every day by these dairies in these districts, with the Visakha Co-op Dairy alone accounting for four lakh litres a day, and the rest by the private dairies. It is estimated that the daily procurement may have fallen by almost two lakh litres, with the Visakha Co-op Dairy losing one lakh litre of milk a day.
In view of the slump in milk procurement, the Visakha Co-op Dairy is falling back on milk powder stocks to meet the demand for milk and even then there is considerable short supply of milk in the market. Visakha Dairy also supplies milk to some of the bordering districts in Orissa and even to Kolkata. In view of the drastic slump in procurement, the supply to those areas is also hit.
Extensive damage to fodder in these parts caused by the recent floods, with Srikakulam being the worst-hit district, is said to be one of the principal factors responsible for the slump. The uncongenial climate has also led to slump in milk yields. It is said that it may take at least a few months for the dairy sector in these districts to regain normalcy.