COVID-19 hits dairy industry: 1.9 million liters of milk wasted daily

Sabina Karki

May 17, 2021


COVID-19 hits dairy industry: 1.9 million liters of milk wasted daily

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KATHMANDU: The consumption of milk has drastically declined as the coronavirus epidemic grips the nation.

Under normal circumstances, the country used to consume around 3.2 million liters of milk a day. When the demand used to be higher than the supply, powdered milk used to address the gap.

Consumption of milk has come down to 1.3 million liters after the enforcement of prohibitory order.

According to the Nepal Dairy Association, the remaining 1.9 million liters or 60 percent of the milk is sans market as urban areas are shuttered down.

Dairy farmers have been hit hard by declining milk consumption in urban areas due to prohibitory orders enforced to curb and control the coronavirus pandemic.

Both farmers and entrepreneurs have to bear the loss due to the closure of schools, hotels and party palaces where milk used to be consumed in large quantities.

According to Prahlad Dahal, general secretary of the Association, 1.9 million liters of milk cannot be transformed and saved in powder form.

Powder and butter worth Rs 3 billion in stock

Most of the dairy industries had turned the excess milk into powder and butter when the lockdown was enforced to curb the coronavirus pandemic in the last week of March last year.

According to Dahal, there is milk powder and butter worth around Rs 3 billion in stock now. Due to this, it is not possible to convert the excess milk into powder now.

The reviving market has crumbled again due to the fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus.

“The milk consumption was nearly restored to 90 percent after the end of the first lockdown of 2020,” Dahal told Khabarhub, adding, “The consumption has dropped to 40 percent since the enforcement of the latest prohibitory orders.”

He added that the sale of milk and dairy products has gone down by about 60 percent and milk worth over Rs 100 million has not found a market these days.

“Due to the current prohibitory orders, the old stock of powdered milk and butter and the current surplus have stalled the working capital,” Dahal said, “Farmers’ money has not been paid on time.”

Demand for vaccine

Lately, the number of coronavirus cases has been increasing by more than 8,000 daily. The COVID-19 caused mortality has been more than 150 every day.

According to Dahal, during the second wave of coronavirus, all dairy industrialists, farmers and unions have been regularly providing services with high vigilance by fulfilling all health standards prescribed by the government.

In such a situation, the association has requested the government to provide vaccine to all those who are involved in collection, processing and marketing milk to help the industry from collapsing.