The drought conditions in the State have made their impact on milk production going by the decline in procurement by the dairies.
The pressure on supplies is being felt in the State capital by way of reduced stocks of dairy products. Though the Government is yet to formally declare a drought, it has initiated measures to run fodder camps to avoid shortage of green fodder to milch cattle in the coming weeks. But the dairies and consumers are already feeling the pinch.
The Mother Dairy, which procures milk from milk cooperatives of Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy districts, reported a 30 per cent drop in procurement. It has, theref,re decided to suspend supply of Full Cream Milk (FCM) with six per cent fat and replace it with toned milk in the coming days to tide over the shortage. Masqati and Sangham dairies have already stopped FCM supply.
Assistant Area Manager of Mother Dairy Vijaya Bhaskar said that coupled with lean season for buffalo milk because of their breeding and calving season and sudden rise in milk consumption due to marriage season, shortage of fodder also adversely affected the milk yield in the last 15 days. Heritage Foods also reported about 25 per cent drop in procurement in the last few weeks.
For the time being, AP Dairy, is, however, maintaining its procurement and supply position. "We can’t guarantee how things will unfold in the coming days." But if there was no improvement in weather conditions, supply of other dairy products like ghee, butter, flavoured milk might be affected. As milk prices were revised only recently in the State, there was no proposal to revise them, sources said. The price of toned milk is Rs.24 to Rs.26 a litre while FCM is Rs.31 to Rs. 32 a litre.
Dr. Nagaraju Naidu, former Managing Director of Heritage Foods said that though there was decrease in production in buffalo tracts, there was no dearth of cow milk. In addition to the lean season for buffalo milk till October first week, the lack of green fodder, brought down the yield further by about 10 per cent.
However he said milk production did not get focus in the last three years in line with increasing demand due to higher consumption. The good rains in the last five years drove farmers to prefer other commercial crops while neglecting dairy. All these factors had contributed to the present situation, he added.