KATHMANDU, July 16: The upgrading of Biratnagar Milk Supply Scheme's capacity in producing powdered milk is expected to eradicate 'milk holiday' in Nepal.
"The scheme produces three tons of powdered milk a day which will be doubled to six tons a day after its upgrade," said Ganga Timsina, general manager of Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) in its 49th anniversary program organized in Kathmandu on Sunday.
Arniko Rajbhandari, general secretary of Dairy Industries Nepal, said the DDC, which owned 40 percent share of the dairy industry, earned only Rs 6.4 million in profits. It was only 0.5 percent return of the investment, he said, terming the situation unfortunate for the DDC. The DDC could benefit by collaborating with the private sector on projects such as joint-power plant, according to him.
"Nepal used to face 35 percent milk scarcity from March to August and 25 percent oversupply of milk from August to February," Rajbhandari said.
"DDC is importing 25,000 liters of milk daily from India's Patna Dairy, which shows there is no situation for milk holiday in Nepal," said DDC Administration Officer Dipak Subedi.
"There are times when oversupply of milk causes milk holiday," he told Republica, adding, "Biratnagar Milk Supply Scheme (BMSS) is expected to utilize the milk produced in its prime season, which is expected to eradicate milk holiday."
Last year's data showed decreasing production of milk for three consecutive years. Total 53,296,266 liters of milk was produced in the fiscal year 2015/16. The production stood at 58,995,902 liters and 66,344,939 liters in the fiscal years 2013/14 and 2014/15, respectively.
Sanjeev Jha, business development officer of DDC, said that the production has been falling since the earthquake. On top of that, the Indian blockade in 2015 hampered the supply.
"Farmers have been heading for foreign employment in the past two years, creating short supply of labor. This has ultimately caused the plunge in milk supply," he added.
Heramba Rajbhandari, executive chairman of Nepal Dairy, said that the DDC should strive to go hand-in-hand with private organizations.
"There should be competition among industries regarding quality," he said. "Industries should understand that the business that we are running is for public and corporate social welfare, for which development of management and skills is must."
"Some private dairies are using modern technology, and it should be used in DDC as well. Commercialization and management of milk collection and distribution is very important," said Narayan Devkota, chairman of Central Dairy Cooperative Association Ltd. Nepal.
According to Krishna Gopal Shrestha, president of Nepal Dairy Science Association, the establishment of BMSS is appreciable and should be expanded along with awareness program for farmers.