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Milk output in Karnataka drops by a million litres a day since July 2022

The Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) has seen a slump in milk procurement by nine to 10 lakh litres a day since July 2022. Highly placed sources informed DH that on an average, the dairy cooperative has now been procuring 75.6 lakh litres of milk a day from over 26 lakh milk producers in the state.

In 2021-22, the output of milk was 84.5 lakh litres a day. This is the first time it has declined in at least the last five years.

Lumpy skin disease (LSD), foot & mouth disease (FMD), floods and inferior fodder have resulted in the decline in milk production in Karnataka. Production is expected to drop further during summer, as green fodder turns scarce.

Milk shortage has slightly pushed up prices of milk by-products, especially ghee, butter, paneer and others. For instance, ghee and butter are costlier by Rs 30 to 40 a kilo. Many of the 16 milk unions under KMF have scaled down production of milk powder supplied to government schools under the Ksheera Bhagya scheme.

However, managing directors of at least two unions confirmed to DH that milk powder supply is normal since they have enough stocks till April when schools close.

‘There is a decrease in production while there is an increase in demand. Small retail outlets have exited the market due to the lack of supply. We are tightening sales based on procurement,’ said Tumakuru Milk Union managing director Suresh B P. He added that the situation is expected to improve by April. Tumkur Co-op Milk Union has witnessed a fall of nearly 70,000 litres of milk a day, the highest in the state.

Nyamadeva Prabhugouda, a farmer in the Bagalkot district says the delay in providing vaccines against lumpy skin disease (LSD) and foot & mouth disease has left many cattle head dead.

‘In December 2021, I was supplying approximately 135 litres of milk a day to the union. Now, after the death of four of the seven bovines due to LSD, the yield has reduced to 80 to 100 litres a day,’ he says.

Officials say KMF used to supply nearly 2,000 tonnes of ghee a month to the Karnataka market in 2021-22. However, due to milk shortage, it has reduced to 1,700 tonnes a month. Similarly, butter production has fallen by 150 tonnes a month. Last year, KMF had a market share of 400 tonnes a month.

Unions in Tumakuru, Kolar, Shivamogga, Ballari and Chikkabalapur districts have seen a huge drop in milk production.

In spite of the slump in milk production, the Hassan Milk Union is all set to export milk and its byproducts to Maldives, West Asia and Singapore. Through KMF, the Hassan union has already dispatched 1.5 lakh litres of tetrapak milk to the Maldives on a trial basis. In another 15-20 days, they are all set to export two lakh litres of milk and 20 tonnes of butter to West Asia.

‘Delegates from Arab countries visited the Hassan unit last week to check on the quality of the milk being packed here. There are minor issues which have to be resolved. If our first consignment clicks, then we will be able to export at least 50,000 litres of milk a day to those countries,’ said Gopalaiah, MD of the Hassan union.

‘The export will ensure steady income to farmers,’ said Gopalaiah.

Milk exports are expected to fetch an annual revenue of Rs 500 crore to KMF.

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