Today I don’t have words to express my gratitude towards your love and support. Today is the first edition of the sixth year of Dairy Pulse. I realised it after looking at the 131st edition number being put on the current issue of Dairy Pulse . In the last six years ,our efforts were to share every relevant information from the dairy sector with you. Thanks for being such a big support.
Today’s scenario is very unique and the old story of Chicken and egg is repeating itself. The coming 2-3 weeks are very special. As most likely size of the population vaccinated against Corona would create a shield against the population likely to get affected by Corona.
The statistics goes as below for April 15th 2021 :
Number of people recovered from Corona : 12.5 MillionTotal number of Vaccination done ( both first and second) : 117.5 million
Now lets get back to the chicken and egg story. Vaccination in India began from Jan 16th and let us look at its relationship with surge in Corona cases.
Corona cases reported on Jan 16 : 15144Vaccination done on Jan 16th : 191181
Corona cases reported on April 15th : 217353
Vaccination done till April 15th : 117.2 million doses
I wonder if the surge in Corona cases causing people to get vaccinated or the surge in vaccination causing Corona to grow exponentially. I pray to god that the former be true.
The government knows their job well and let us leave it to them to decide on how to curb Corona 2.0 in India. I am worried about the dairy sector. Night, day, weekend and fortnightly curfews are back in most parts of the country.
Milk prices have shown dip in a few of the largest milk producing states in the country. The dairy commodity prices have plunged in the absence of demand . Horeca demand has plummeted again along with weakening of demand for chilled and frozen dairy products.
When would see the next peak of Corona ?
A million dollar question at this moment is when would the peak of Corona cases touch in India. Has it really got some correlation with the rate of vaccination.? Would the curve be kinky this time or a gradually declining curve? Today over 7% of the population has got vaccinated but it is still not clear on the absolute threshold from where the corona cases will gradually start to fall. The last question to be answered is whether we could avoid complete lockdown in the country ?
Amidst all this confusion I better thought to prepare a 10 point list of immediate actions to be taken up by all the stakeholders so as to avoid mistakes which impacted the industry last year. Proactive approach generally has never harmed anyone .
10 points action plan for all the stakeholders
1. All the helpdesks created by the government and various departments for farmers support must be made active and their numbers must be shared through high publicity.
2. Semen, Liquid Nitrogen , veterinary medicines, feed and fodder , silage etc must be ensured in plenty along with its transportation so that the calving cycles might not get impacted.
3. All front line dairy workers across the dairy value chain must be vaccinated on first priority and be issued curfew passes with immediate effect. Online provisions may also be made regarding this.
4. All critical and essential feed ingredients must be put under some kind of essential commodity act and its hoarding must be banned. There has been an almost 50-60% surge in soya and 10-20% surge in mustard and sunflower DOC since Feb 12th.
5. The regulator FSSAI must be more vigilant to check sales of adulterated milk, paneer, ghee and khoa during this period. The miscreants try to locally supply this material under curfew like conditions. This in turn creates a milk surplus at farmers level.
Stocking and hoarding for profit booking must be checked
6. Raw material stocks for packaging material of food products must be brought under essential commodities like law so that hoarders must be punished.
7. An online arrangement for getting the curfew passes for dairy workers must be in place. Most of the time barring a few large players, these passes were not issued to small and medium sized dairy players.
8. There should not be any restriction on government cooperatives to supply milk in a city or in containment zones. Private sector also follows the same process from milk collection to processing . Sales of dairy products by the private sector is also equally important as that from the cooperative sector.
9. All departments of animal husbandry must keep an online record of medicines, semen , vaccines for animals and stock out positions in any of these categories must be avoided.
10. Lastly the government must procure whole of the good quality milk powder stocks of older dates from both cooperatives and the private sector. These stocks may be distributed to BPL, mid day meal scheme( by sending it to the homes of school children if schools are closed), destitutes and jobless migrants ( at Panchayat levels). This would help in clearing the stocks which would in turn help in converting more milk into powder in case the situation worsens.
I am sure that there may be many more things which could be done but actions based on last year experiences must be given priorities.
That reminds me of a famous quote by Phillip Gribble that
” Today is yesterday’s effect and tomorrow’s cause.”
Let us hope that this problem is controlled very soon . May our industry gains full momentum from the second quarter onwards.
A dairy blog by Kuldeep Sharma Chief editor Dairynews7x7