Amul eyes growing markets in
M-E, Australia

Friday, 28 March 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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The famed Indian brand of Amul milk products is eyeing markets in the Middle East and Australia, with the Iraq war and a drought respectively expected to drive up demand in these regions.

NEW DELHI: The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) is behind the Amul brand.

"In the wake of war in Iraq, we are expecting greater demand for milk products in the Middle East region, which is currently our biggest market," R.S. Khanna, assistant general manager of the federation, told IANS.

"The drought in Australia has also led to a shortfall in milk production, raising the possibility of our getting a foothold there."

The largest dairy cooperative in the country and exporter of dairy products, the federation expects overseas sales to boost its annual turnover by 15 percent in 2002-03.

For the 2002-03 fiscal, the cooperative based at Anand in Gujarat expects a turnover of around 26 billion as against 23.80 billion in the previous year. Exports are expected to contribute around 900 million, up from around 800 million.

The Middle East is the largest overseas market for Amul products currently, with consumer products like Amul ghee, processed and mozzarella cheese, butter, ice-cream, cottage cheese and packaged Indian sweets like shrikhand and gulab jamun registering good growth over the last few years.

Lately, the federation has also been exporting fresh milk with a good response.

Besides the Middle East market, it has also been supplying bulk milk powder and fresh milk to Singapore, and other products to countries like Britain and the U.S. This year while consumer products have registered a 50 percent growth, the bulk supplies did not register any rise.

"During 2002, we supplied bulk milk powder to Iraq, but this year they have so far not tendered for supplies. We expect to do well in the market post war when there will be considerable market demand besides a requirement for humanitarian aid," said Khanna.

"Three months ago we made an entry into the Australian market with ghee and got a good response. Now we have started networking in Australia to export processed cheddar and mozzarella cheese and butter and are also eyeing possibilities in African countries," said Khanna.

The export outlook for India, the world's largest milk producer, is good, with global prices ruling high. If developed countries reduce subsidies, Indian milk products are expected to find a good market there, said the official.

Back home, the federation is upset but not perturbed that its marketing arrangement with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) through Mother Dairy outlets has come to a close since the beginning of this year.

"As we have our own extensive distribution and marketing infrastructure, the break-up of the arrangement has not made any difference," said Khanna.

The network comprises around 3,500 distributors and 450,000 retail outlets.

"In addition we are setting up dedicated Amul outlets in metros. In Delhi, we are opening five outlets at metro railway stations that will stock all our exclusive products besides our normal range."

Though extensive drought last year impacted milk supplies in large parts of the country, the federation continues with a surplus.
Source: IANS

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