Problem of plenty for KMF during coronavirus lockdown in Karnataka

Published - March 29, 2020 11:12 pm IST - Bengaluru

People purchasing products from a Nandini milk booth during the lockdown in Bengaluru.

People purchasing products from a Nandini milk booth during the lockdown in Bengaluru.

Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd. (KMF), which supplies products under the Nandini brand, is facing a problem of surplus. Since the lockdown on account of COVID-19 began, it has been procuring 8-10 lakh litres of excess milk every day.

The main reason is private players are no longer buying milk from farmers. D.C. Sateesh, managing director of KMF, told The Hindu that usually, between December and April, KMF receives 66 lakh to 68 lakh litres of milk every day. However, since the lockdown began, procurement has crossed 70 lakh litres. “In the State, KMF has an 85% market share. After the lockdown, private players completely stopped procuring milk from farmers. One lakh to two lakh farmers, who are also members of societies recognised by their respective milk unions, started supplying to us. We cannot say no to them as they are also members of our societies. This is the primary reason for the increased procurement,” he said.

There have been times the procurement touched 85 lakh litres a day.

Demand down

Furthermore, KMF is no longer exporting to neighbouring States such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, because of the restrictions, and there is little demand from hotels, restaurants and food joints in the State. While exports used to account for 4.5 lakh to 6 lakh litres of milk, the demand from hotels has reduced by 6 lakh litres a day.

Given the situation, the federation has no option but to convert the excess milk into powder. “We have reached a saturation level. Every day, containers carrying 8-10 lakh litres of excess milk reach our dairy units. We have to pasteurise the milk in 28 hours. We are also facing problems acquiring the required material, but the State government is working with various agencies to smoothen the transportation process,” Mr. Sateesh said.

KMF has plants at Channarayapatna, Kanakapura and other areas to convert milk into powder. According to Mr. Sateesh, it is selling milk, curd and other products through 16,000 retailers in the State, including around 4,000 in Bengaluru.

Production stopped

In addition to milk, curds, and ghee, KMF has a multi-crore business manufacturing and selling products such as ice cream, jamun, snacks, and biscuits. It has decided to temporarily stop the production of over 100 products at its unit in Bengaluru. At present, close to 3.5 tonnes of products are lying at KMF manufacturing units.

“KMF does a turnover of ₹60 crore to ₹70 crore a year by selling 100-plus milk-based products, including 22 variants of ice cream. Now, the Health Department has advised people not to consume ice cream. We have temporarily stopped production of these milk-based products,” an official said.

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