India Might Import Dairy Products As Milk Output Stagnates

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India Might Import Dairy Products As Milk Output Stagnates

| Updated: April 6, 2023 16:47

With milk production hitting a plateau, India is considering importing dairy products. Supply for dairy products stagnated in the last fiscal year, which may compel the government to import daily products like ghee and butter.

In the past, India would import high-value milk products like specialty cheese but not regular dairy items.

“The government will intervene to import dairy products like butter and ghee, if required, after assessing the stock position of milk in the southern states, where the flushing (peak production) season has started now,” Animal Husbandry and Dairy Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh told a certain section of the media.

He said India’s milk production declined in 2022-23 owing to lumpy skin disease in cattle even as domestic demand grew 8-10% during that period on account of post-pandemic demand. “Normally, milk production has been growing at 6% annually. However, this year, it will be either stagnant or grow at 1-2 %,” he added.

The last time India imported dairy products was in 2011.

Milk prices in India have gone up by 12-15% in the last 15 months. According to recent data, Consumer Price Index-based inflation in milk has risen from 3.81 % in February 2022 to 9.65% in February 2023.

“There is adequate inventory of skimmed milk powder. But in case of dairy products, especially fats, butter, and ghee, the stocks are lower than the previous year,” Singh said.

However, North India could enjoy some respite. Singh said cool temperatures there on account of untimely rains have delayed the lean milk season.

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