Country faces deficit of 100k litres of milk dailyThe country is facing a deficit of around 100,000 litres of milk every day due to inadequate milk production.
The country is facing a deficit of around 100,000 litres of milk every day due to inadequate milk production.
Dairy farmers, on average, supply around 700,000 litres of milk per day to dairy companies. But the country’s daily demand for milk hovers around 800,000 litres, according to dairy stakeholders.
The country is currently facing shortage of milk because of lean milk production season. Lean milk production season stretches from April to August in the country. Milk production drops to around 490,000 litres per day during the lean season. Milk production, however, rises to around 875,000 litres per day during peak season which continues from September to March.
“Milk supplied by dairy farmers during the lean season is not sufficient to cater to the market demand, as milk consumption is going up,” Arniko Rajbhandari, director of Nepal Dairy, said.
Currently, annual milk production is going up by around 4 percent, whereas annual milk demand is jumping by 8 percent, according to the data of the Department of Livestock.
“To fulfil this deficit, we have to rely on powder milk to produce milk,” Rajbhandari said.
Domestic dairy companies generate powder milk using surplus milk stored during the flush season. But powder milk produced in the country during flush season is not sufficient to cater to the milk demand during lean milk production season. As a result, around 20 percent of the powder milk demand during the lean milk production season is met through imports from India.
“The government should take proper measures to encourage milk production because the product is rich in protein and calcium,” said Sumit Kedia, president of the Nepal Dairy Association, adding, “The government should focus on building capacity of cattle farmers and introducing new farming technology to preserve milk produced in the country. It should also transfer knowledge and skills on ways to preserve calves.”
In 2015, the Ministry of Livestock had said it would make the country self-sufficient in milk production in the next three years. But the country is unlikely to meet this target, as many farmers are currently expressing reluctance to engage in cattle farming due to loss suffered during the devastating earthquakes of 2015, said Kedia.
Around 15,000 cattle were killed by the quakes.
“The country has been facing shortage of milk ever since the earthquakes killed cows and buffaloes,” said Rajbhandari.
Currently, dairy farmers produce around 4.8 million litres of milk per day. Of this, 15 percent is supplied to dairy companies, 35 percent is supplied to restaurants and other entities, and remaining 50 percent is consumed by farmers themselves.
According to the Nepal Dairy Association (NDA), the country’s dairy sector has drawn investment to the tune of Rs15 billion. Dairy business in Nepal accounts for around 9 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Around 450,000 people are involved in cattle farming in the country and more than 20,000 farmers are producing dairy milk.