Construction of a milk powder plant in Hetauda, the capital city of Bagmati Province, has started.

With a total investment of Rs 412 million, the Bagmati provincial government is constructing the milk powder plant.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperative of the Bagmati Province, construction of building required for the plant has begun.

Along with the districts within the Bagmati Province, the government expects to collect milk from farmers of nearby districts of other provinces too.

As per the Provincial Dairy Development Board of Bagmati Province, it has targeted to collect around 60,000 litres of milk every day. The milk will be collected from Chitwan, Makwanpur, Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Mahottari, Sarlahi and Nawalparasi.

Along with this, it has been targeted that the plant will produce five tonnes of milk powder on a daily basis.

Currently there are three milk powder plants - one each in Biratnagar, Pokhara and Chitwan.

The Chitwan milk powder plant has recently resumed operations after being shut for a long time.

The country needs 3,500 tonnes to 4,000 tonnes of milk powder annually while the three milk powder plants can produce only around 2,000 tonnes of milk powder in a year. Thus, the new milk powder plant is expected to considerably bridge the existing supply gap.

Moreover, the provincial government has expected this powder plant to encourage farmers to ramp up their milk production and attract more people to take up livestock (cow/buffalo) farming.

During the pandemic, most of the farmers had to either throw away their milk, distribute it for free or sell it at a low price. Such kinds of issues are expected to be addressed only when the country can build enough milk powder plants to fully utilise the milk produced by the farmers.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 15, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.