India File

Covid churn

| Updated on September 21, 2020

The countrywide lockdown from March last week impacted both producers and processors badly. As demand from hotels/restaurants/cafes (HoReCA) segment dried up, farmers came under pressure as several private dairies stopped procurement. This resulted in a price crash across many parts of the country with farmers resorting to protests and dumping milk on the roads, mainly in Maharasthra.

Dairy co-operatives such as GCMMF and KMF came to farmers’ rescue by purchasing their produce. It is estimated that dairy co-operatives saw an increase of 8-10 per cent in their milk purchases over their normal purchases in recent months. Such surplus purchases of milk are being converted into skimmed milk powder (SMP) and white butter. Stocks of SMP, which are estimated at over one lakh tonnes, could pose a challenge in the flush season ahead and dairy players are betting on the pick-up in demand in the forthcoming festival season of Dussehra and Diwali.

According to officials at KMF, milk procurement touched a record high of 88 lakh litres per day during July this year, as against an average of 77 LPD in the previous year.

The lockdown, which triggered reverse migration of labourers, saw people getting attracted to dairying.

“During the lockdown period, we have seen a large number of urban workforce, who have returned to villages, getting into dairy farming with a few cattle. Workers from diamond industry, textile industry are now getting into dairying because dairying has become a stable income source for them with a modest investment. So learned youth have got involved into this trend,” says Chaudhary of Banas Dairy.

Published on September 21, 2020

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