MADURAI: The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the Union Government to lift the ban on export of skimmed milk powder. The ban, which came into effect in February this year, will expire on September 30.

In a statement here on Monday, chamber president S. Rethinavelu criticised the Confederation of Indian Industry paper that said milk powder export was nudging up the prices of milk in the country.

Only 0.56 million tonnes of milk, a fraction of the total production of 95 million tonnes, was converted into powder and exported in 2005-06.

Hence, he said, the claim that milk power export was driving up the prices or creating shortages of milk was untenable.

Revenue dented

The ban on the export of milk powder had dented the revenue of farmers, who had been demanding that the ban be lifted.

The farmers stood to gain 60-70 paise more for every Rs. 10 increase in skimmed milk powder realisation. The loss of export cost milk producers at least Re. 1 a kg, he said.

Milk, unlike other agricultural produce such as sugarcane or paddy, fetched liquid cash almost daily to its producers.

Milk got the farmers at least 60 per cent of the consumer price while fruits and vegetables brought only one-fifth of the price, he said.

Furthermore, the spiralling cost of inputs added to the woes of milk producers. While cattle feed cost increased by Rs.6 a kg, groundnut cake and maize rose by Rs. 15 and Rs. 7.