MANGALURU: The pandemic had a telling effect on the Milk Unions last year. It has snowballed into a bigger crisis with milk sales dropping by 20% in the last fortnight due to the restrictions imposed by the government on functions to contain the surge in Covid-19 cases.
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The Dakshina Kannada Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Limited (DKMUL) procures close to 5.10 lakh liters per day from its members. With restrictions in place in the month, which is populated by religious functions and weddings, the union has seen its sales dip by a lakh litres per day. Though it has found a way to add value to the product without making it go waste by converting it into milk powder, the lack of demand for this product has also affected the Union’s fortunes.

DKMUL president, Raviraja Hegde said that from the past fortnight sales have dropped 20% on an average. “We send this excess milk through tankers to milk conversion units at Channapatna or Ramanagara, incurring additional costs for transport plus conversion. In spite of this, the drop in demand due to absence of government sponsored Ksheera Bhagya schemes means that we incur Rs 8 to Rs 10 loss per liter of milk being converted as powder,’’ he said.

Consider milk procurers as Covid warriors: Hegde expressed concerns that he was receiving reports of farmers/ members contracting Covid-19 and in turn, his workforce are getting infected while procuring milk. “The government should consider milk procurers, and the supply chain personnel of the union, from farmers/ members as frontline Covid warriors and vaccinate them. We will write to the deputy commissioner and the district health official after speaking with the members regarding this,’’ he said. “The Union is ready to procure the vaccines to bear the cost of vaccination,’’ he added.

Last month, 14 of our dairy farms in Maine, as well as dozens of dairy farms across northern New England, got an unexpected and disappointing notice from Danone of North America saying that they were discontinuing their contracts with our organic dairy farmers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and elsewhere.

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