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The Indian city Mumbai, which has over 17 000 dairy cattle, is facing animal feed availability issues due to the extended 21-day lockdown, set to end on 30 April.

A dairy farm owner based in Mumbai said that fodder for animals had decreased due to unavailable transport. Even the factories producing animal feed had shut down.

As this happened very quickly there was no time to stock feed and fodder. However, we believe the government will ease some rules, the dairy farm owner stressed.

Milking problems and higher costs

One cattle owner, who owns 250 cattle, said that around 365 dairy farmers in Aarey, a milk colony, are now forced to rely on each other to feed their animals. “We can manage for a few days, but we have to give our dairy animals a proper diet, otherwise milking will fall drastically.”

Dairy farmer Suresh Pandey said that each dairy animal requires 18 to 20kg of feed on a daily basis and if things do not improve in the next few days, they will have to approach the government. Some of the farms are getting fodder, but at triple the rate. Previously it cost $200 (approximately INR15 000) to deliver cattle feed to the Aarey colony; now it is $600 (INR45 000) for the same amount. “How can we or our cattle survive with such a high rate? The state or the central government should do something,” Pandey added.

Plummeting demand

Pandey stated: “With all the restaurants and shops shut, the demand for milk has gone down drastically. Over 60% of our milk is sold to these shops and the other 40% goes to the local customer. Due to the lockdown, milk prices are now hovering at $0,65 cents (INR 40) per litre.” Pandey also added that there is little hope for small dairy farmers to survive this crisis.

Currently, 25% of the milk supplied to Mumbai is sourced from the Aarey milk colony. On average, a dairy farmer in Aarey owns roughly 50 cattle. If the lockdown continues each dairy farm owner stands to lose approximately $6 500 (INR500 000) each month. – Dairy Global