Nepal dairy industry is aggrieved by the decline in demand due to coronavirus impact. Daily, a whopping total of 1.9 million liters of milk is being wasted due to COVID-19 countermeasures implemented across the country.
Before the pandemic, Nepal would chug down 3.2 million liters daily and would even utilize the powdered milk during peak conditions.
However, with the enforcement of prohibitory order, the urban areas are not nurturing demand for dairy products. As consumption has come down to 1.3 million liters, the rest of it is going down the drain.
With hostels, hotels, and other major urban areas shut down to curb the viral spread, the dairy farmers and entrepreneurs are bearing the financial brunt. With milk valued over NPR 100 million not finding any market, dairy farmers are no longer being paid on time.
Although excess milk can be converted to powder, Prahlad Dalal, general secretary of the Nepal Dairy Association, said that it is not optimal to convert it due to the existing surplus dairy products stock.
Dalal said, “The milk consumption was nearly restored to 90 percent after the end of the first lockdown of 2020. The consumption has (now) dropped to 40 percent since the enforcement of the latest prohibitory orders.”
The dairy industry had already converted the excess milk to powder and other dairy products in March 2020 when the first wave of the virus affected the country. Now, there is NPR 3 billion worth of milk powder and butter. Due to unsold surplus, the prospective conversion of milk to solids is no longer viable.
Speaking about the pandemic, Dahal said that the dairy entrepreneurs and farmers are adhering to the health standards set by the government and are providing their services with caution. The association has requested the government to vaccinate the essential staff members who collect, process and market the milk.
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