World's top milk producer India faces shortages

Friday, 29 August 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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India, the world's top milk producer, faces a shortage and might import 6,000 tonnes of skimmed and whole milk powder to tide over this, Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh disclosed here Thursday.

NEW DELHI: "Though we expect milk production to return to normal soon, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has been given permission by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade to import 6,000 tonnes of skimmed and whole milk power to tide over the situation," said Singh at the Editors' Conference on Social Sectors.

The minister's disclosure came barely two days after he announced there was no milk crisis in the country and that arrangements had been made for the capital to receive more milk and milk powder from the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF).

The state-owned NDDB, which operates under the Mother Dairy brand, now plans to import milk powder not just to meet the shortfall in Delhi's demand but also in other states.

"Several other states like Maharashtra and Rajasthan too are facing severe shortage of milk powder," said Binoo Sen, secretary in the animal husbandry and dairy department of the agriculture ministry.

With a demand of 4.5 million litres of milk everyday, Delhi has been facing a severe milk shortage for the last ten days.

For the last few days, GCMMF has been supplying around 50,000 litres of milk daily to the capital to help tide over the crisis.

The GCMMF has now agreed to supply milk powder and white butter to both Delhi Milk Scheme (DMS) and Mother Dairy, which has not been stocking any of GCMMF's Amul products or taking its milk supplies for last several months following difference of opinions between the two dairy majors.

Sen said the shortage in milk powder supplies were realised on August 20 during a review meeting with the co-operatives.

"Our estimates show that we are facing a shortfall of around 4,500 metric tonnes of powdered milk. For some time, co-operatives in the south were helping Delhi and Maharashtra meet the shortfall in requirement," said Sen.

Despite the current milk shortage, Sen expressed confidence that "our production will still remain on the top and we should be able surpass last year's production of 88 million tonnes."

According to the official it is not just India but also Australia and European Union too are facing drop in milk production due to the severe heat wave.

Source: IANS

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