Maharashtra Dairies Join SMP Shortage Chorus

Mumbai, Sept 28: | Updated: Sep 29 2003, 05:30am hrs
With the Northern and Eastern regions of the country in the grip of milk shortage, the milk deficiency has now spread to Mumbai and Maharashtra.

The festival season having already set in and the demand for milk rising, Maharashtra dairy co-operatives and leading dairies in the state have shot off letters to the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) seeking around 1400 MT of Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP).

While the Kolhapur-based Shree Warna Swahakari Dudh Utpadak Prakriya Sangh Ltd has sought to import 1,000 MT each of butteroil and SMP, the Mumbai-based Maharashtra Rajya Sahakari Dudh Mahasangh Maryadit has demanded 200 MT of SMP and the Mahanand Dairy has also demanded another 200 MT of SMP, thereby taking the total demand to 1,400 MT SMP for Maharashtra.

NDDB has confirmed the receipt of letters seeking an additional SMP requirement from these organisations to FE.

The requirement comes in the wake of the recent shortage of SMP faced by northern and eastern regions with the consequent reduction in supply of milk to consumers.

Meanwhile, the milk shortage crisis is accentuated by the rise in prices of SMP, which has also shot up by Rs 33 per kg from Rs 67 per kg in August 2002 to Rs 100 kg in August 2003.

Earlier, milk powder manufacturing dairy co-operatives in Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh had informed that they were facing a sharp downswing in procurement of liquid milk and therefore wanted to purchase milk powder - for use in supply of liquid milk in their respective regions.

This is a serious issue since most of these federations appear to have exhausted the option of trying to source their milk powder requirement from the largest milk powder manufacturer Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) and have now approached NDDB with a request for supply of milk powders.

Taking note of the serious milk shortage in different parts of the country, the Delhi government as well the Central government have already requested the NDDB to ensure that adequate measures are put in place so as to ensure normal supply of milk in the country.

There has been a shortfall in the milk availability in the first five months of the current financial year (as compared to the previous year) for liquid milk as well as conversion to conserved commodities like SMP by the co-operative dairies.

Many of the major milk producing states had been under the effect of prolonged drought-like conditions. This has led to a shortage in feed / fodder and water for animals resulting in delayed and insufficient calving.