Dairy industry denies milk shortage


"As of now there is no milk shortage," a top dairy industry official said when asked to comment on the overall situation in milk supply.

The statement comes on the heels of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar warning last week that the country, especially the Northern markets, may face milk shortage.
The industry official said so far there is no import of skimmed milk powder (SMP). "Had there been a shortage, there would have been imports by now as customs duty is as low as 5 per cent on it," he said. Import duty on SMP is 5 per cent for the first 10,000 tonne and over 30 per cent for more quantity.

The industry official noted that there has always been a supply surplus of milk during the winters compared to other seasons. "But the normal surpluses expected this year is missing, maybe due to the drought the resultant fodder availability," he said.
Dairy expert RS Khanna said the impact of drought is being felt now with poor fodder availability. He said only the Agriculture Ministry maintains milk production and consumption data while NDDB has information only of the cooperatives.

Half of the milk is handled by the cooperative sector in the country while the rest is managed by the private sector-- both organised and unorganised. Milk production crossed 108.5 million tonne last year, but demand is projected to grow to 166 million tonne by 2020.

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