R&D facility sought for dairy industry

Kathmandu, February 13:

Dairy entrepreneurs asked the government to establish a national level research and development (R&D) unit to promote milk-related industry and business in the country.

Despite Nepal’s production of milk is enough to meet its domestic demand, the country often faces shortage of milk and dairy products, especially in urban areas due to lack of proper supply system and the government’s support to promote the business.

According to Nepal Dairy Association (NDA), only 12 per cent out of total annual production of 1.312 million metric tonnes of milk is being processed and sent to markets for commercial purposes.

About 88 per cent of total milk being produced across the country still doesn’t come into processing units.

“There is an urgent need to establish a national level R&D facility along with a mother dairy to produce skilled manpower and diversify dairy products as per the changing need,” according to Nepal Dairy Association .

There are about 250 dairy industries including both medium and big scale units with an installed capacity of processing 6,50,000 litres milk a day. However, only 61 per cent of their total capacity is being utilised that has further dropped in recent days due to long hours of load shedding and frequent strikes, said Sumit Kedia, general secretary of Nepal Dairy Association .

“More farmers associated with milk production will be benefited, if we could utilise full capacity of these industries,” he said, adding that it will have a positive impact on the country’s rural economy.

The dairy industries currently employ more than 3,700 people directly and indirectly benefit more than 4,00,000 farmers and their families across the country. According to Nepal Dairy Association , more than four billion rupees is being transferred to rural parts every year and the share of dairy sector in gross domestic production constitutes about eight per cent.

Keeping in view that dairy industry directly involves marginalised and poor farmers from the rural areas, the government must bring dairy policy and programmes to support the industry, Kedia said.

“There is a need to encourage farmers for improved hybrid cows or buffaloes for producing more milk and use of balanced diet using fodder and grain feeds,” he added.