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Covid-19: India’s dairy co-ops urged to ensure milk supply

With India under lockdown for 21 days since 25 March 2020 due to the coronavirus, India’s National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has urged all the milk co-operatives to ensure supply of milk and milk products for the next three weeks.

The Gujarat headquartered board said in a statement, “Considering the dairy cooperatives account for bulk of the organised liquid milk supply to consumers, it is important that they make all the necessary arrangements to ensure supply of milk and milk products to consumers in this unprecedented situation created by COVID-19 virus.”

Photo: Canva.com
Photo: Canva.com

Speaking on this, NDDB chairman Dilip Rath said, “In view of the present COVID-19 pandemic, NDDB has made an appeal to all dairy cooperatives across the country to take essential measures for continued supply of milk and milk products so as to avoid situations of panic buying by consumers.” In case of any difficulty in maintaining the dairy supply chain, the concerned dairy cooperatives are advised to contact the local authorities.”

This comes following the decision by Karnataka Cooperative Milk Federation (KMF), the owner of popular milk-brand Nandini, to cut export of milk to the neighboring states after borders were sealed to stop migrants. After the lockdown many states saw migrant movements and to curb this, all states decided to seal borders, creating difficulties getting milk to consumers.

KMF also said that the demand has also dropped in these states owing to temporary closure of the hotel and restaurant industry.

Dairy cooperatives were also requested to make suitable arrangements for ensuring uninterrupted collection, chilling, transportation and processing of milk and availability of fodder in villages, Rath said.

The lockdown measures announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), may dry up majority of income sources for those in rural areas. Hence, the milk business may prove to be the only economic lifeline for millions of rural dairy farmers, the statement added.

While all commercial and private establishments has been ordered to closed down, dairy and milk booths are allowed as essential services. Arrangements for animal fodder can also be continued. Cold storage and warehousing services are permitted. Transportation and other logistics services with respect to the above are also exempted Rath said.