May 4: With the disruption in market cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic market of Nepal currently has a stock of milk powder and butter worth Rs 3 billion. Since the consumption has declined due to the pandemic, dairy producers and traders are forced to process the unsold milk into powdered milk and butter.
According to the data provided by the Nepal Dairy Association, the umbrella body of diary producers and entrepreneurs alone has milk powder and butter worth Rs one billion out of the total stock worth Rs 3 billion. The consumption of milk has declined by 60 percent in the Kathmandu valley with the sharp rise in coronavirus infections and the market situation is becoming alarming due to the prohibitory orders.
According to Prahad Dahal, General Secretary of the Association, with the decline in the consumption of milk, the stock of milk powder will continue to rise. This has imposed challenges to all farmers, traders and industrialists on how to manage the surplus milk.
Flow of money to the milk industries has stopped because of the protracted lockdown of last year which led to the shutting down of hotels, restaurants, party palaces that consume the highest volume of milk in the market. Due to this, most of the industries have not been able to pay back the farmers.
Dairy entrepreneurs have demanded that the government provide loans to the industry equivalent to the amount of the goods that they have in stock. This will help them to facilitate the operation of the industries and pay back the farmers.
Dahal said that due to the prohibitory orders that are currently enforced, transporters that supply dairy products are having problems in getting the logo provided by the National Dairy Development Board.
The board had prepared the logo last April so that there would be no obstruction in the transportation of milk products. However, due to various pending procedures, the board has not been able to provide the logo to the transporters.
One day before the prohibitory orders were enforced, the board had published a notice requesting transporters to contact the board to get the logos. "But no transporter has received the logo so far because of the prohibitory orders that are currently in place," said Amogh Kafle, spokesperson of the board.