Inspite of the lockdown, dairy farmers in some areas of Maharashtra and the neighbouring Karnataka are managing to get ₹60-80 per litre procurement rates for milk from indigenous cows such as Gir, Sahiwal and Kankrej. Milk from Jersey and Holstein cows fetches upto ₹29 a litre.
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The low volume of milk in the market from desi cows cannot be compared with milk from Jersey cows. However, the demand has been building up in the last few years in metro cities such as Mumbai and Pune due to the quality. In Mumbai region, the milk of Gir cow is available for ₹110-140 a litre, while ₹60 is the rate for Jersey cow milk.

Dairy farmer Sagar Killedar from Kolhapur district in Western Maharashtra said that farmers are getting ₹80 per litre and even higher given the demand for milk and ghee from desi cows. This is one business, which has not been affected by any recession or lockdown. The quality of milk is good and it is also is in demand from Ayurveda pharmacies, which require pure ghee for preparing certain medicines.

The demand for such milk has not gone down as people want to enhance their immunity in times of a health crisis, he said.

Framer Sanjay Patil from Belagavi district in Karnataka has local cows such as Rathi, Sahiwal and Tharparkar. He manages to get about 60 litres of milk per day and sells it at ₹70 per litre in Kolhapur city. Patil says that despite the high price, maintaining an indigenous cow is a costly affair because of its higher demand for fodder. Still, such cows give support to his farming business.

Arun Narke, former President of Indian Dairy Association, told BusinessLine that the quality of milk from indigenous cows is definitely good but the yield is very less. An indigenous cow will provide on average about 4 litres per day but Jersey and Holstein cows give up 15 litres. All farmers cannot maintain such cows.

Bimal Mehta, who procures milk and ghee from Jasdan in Gujarat and markets it in Mumbai under the Gir Amrut Dhara brand, said that the demand for ghee from desi cows is rising due to its taste and health benefits. In high-end gourmet stores, some organic food companies are selling ghee at as high as ₹5,000 per kg.

Dairy farmers can do more together than individually.

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