After petrol, milk scarce too

Kathmandu, August 24:

Even after price hike, Kathmanduites are not getting sufficient milk for their daily consumption. Also, for the last two months the supply of ghee has also decreased.

“Kathmandu valley consumes about 3,00,000 litres of milk everyday but supply has reduced to 1,10,000-litres at present,” said Ajab Lal Yadav, general manager of Dairy Development Corporation (DDC).

Talking about the growing shortage of milk, Yadav said, “We are facing problems due

to the frequent bandhs affecting the highway. We bring milk powder all the way from Biratnagar, but that is not possible at this time.”

Yadav, however, said DDC was looking for an alternate route to import powder milk and other necessities from India, “We have made settlement with India and we will get the commodities soon. This should solve the problem of milk scarcity.”

Recent data provided by Department of Livestock Services shows milch cattle population in 2006-07 was 114.11 million. Of this, 43.66 million are buffaloes and 70.44 million cows. Only 12.9 per cent of the cows and 25.7 per cent of the buffaloes are milking. In 2006-07, milk powder worth Rs 56 million was imported while exports brought in Rs 2.5 million.

A DDC official said on condition of anonymity, “Since it is costlier to import powder milk the private dairies prefer to collect it from the local villages, thus creating shortage of milk as the number of private dairies are increasing while the pocket area is getting limited.” He added that increasingly farmers were losing interest in livestock rearing and shifting to cities, causing an adverse impact on the production of dairy items.

DDC general manager Yadav voiced over the growing scarcity of milk and added, “There are laws regarding investments in priority areas, and I think line agencies should jointly be involved in sorting out the problem. What we can provide is a market guarantee.”

He pointed out that until and unless this sector was made profitable manpower would go on dwindling. Investments must be made in the pocket areas, he said.

Yadav also added, “The population of Kathmandu valley stands at more than 3.5 million. Demand for milk is also increasing along with the population. Besides, these the food habits of people are changing and more and more people are turning vegetarian. Since the festive season is on, milk produced in the villages gets consumed by the villagers themselves.”

DDC has recently increased the price of milk to Rs 17 from Rs 15 per packet (half litre).