PRIVATE AND cooperative dairies in Maharashtra have started reporting a dip in milk procurement, which they say is a result of the ongoing drought. With conditions not likely to improve even after the advent of the rains, the dairy industry is likely to go through a rough patch this year.
The prevalent drought in Maharashtra, especially in the milk producing district of Ahmednagar, has resulted in a steep fall in the state’s milk production. Summer months normally are associated with less production but the drought has really hit the dairy industry. Districts of Ahmednagar, Solapur and northern Nashik, from where major milk procurement happens, have been badly affected by drought, which in turn has affected the procurement of milk.
Vivek Nirmal, joint managing director of Prabhat Dairy Limited, said they have resorted to procurement of milk from other states to tide over the shortfall. Prabhat, on an average, procures around 9 lakh litres of milk and is now facing a short fall of around 10-15 per cent.
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“We have started procuring this milk from the neighbouring states of Karnataka and to a lesser extent from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh,” he said.
DS Mane, chairman and managing director of Indapur-based Sonai Dairy reported a drop of around 60 per cent in milk procurement.
“Last year, we used to procure around 22 lakh litres of milk on a daily basis and now it has dropped to 9.5 lakh litres on a daily basis,” he said.
In order to keep their procurement figures steady, Pune-based Katraj dairy has started paying their farmers a rupee over the government fixed price for procurement. Dr Vivek Kshirsagar, managing director of the dairy, which procures milk from 11 talukas of Pune district, said this has ensured their procurement levels are untouched.
“Even if the farmer is not able to meet his quota from his own animals, the incentive of higher price ensures he gets milk from some other place to meet our quota,” he said.
Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Limited, Anand or better known as Amul, which started procuring milk from Maharashtra two years ago, has not been affected by the drought. Amul has been procuring around 1.5 lakh litres of milk. Prabhakar Choure, additional general manager of Amul in Maharashtra, said that the higher price given to farmers and procurement from relatively greener belts in Ahmednagar and Northern Nashik have helped the cooperative maintain its procurement limits.