Price of 1-litre pouch goes up by Rs 2, other companies may follow suit
SRINAGAR: The JK Milk Producers Cooperative Limited (JKMPCL) has pushed up rates of its packaged milk, a move that is expected to trigger inflation in the dairy sector here.
While officials maintain that in the recent past there has not been any proposal by marketing companies or milkmen for a rate hike in milk or milk products, the move by the cooperative will likely put inflationary pressure on the whole daily market.
Officials worry that private-sector milk suppliers will soon knock on their doors for a similar rate hike on their packaged milk and allied products.
Director of the Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Kashmir, Dr Abdul Salam Mir said that the cooperative has its own inbuilt mechanism to decide rates and its pushing up rates will be reflected in the whole of the dairy sector.
He added that there has not been any representation, as yet, from other private milk marketing companies and traditional raw milk sellers for any enhancement of rates.
Similarly, his counterpart in Jammu, Dr Naseem Javaid Chowdhary, said that rates in this sector were steady and there was no push from any side for a hike, but now surely there will be a surge in prices of dairy products.
JKMPCL owns two plants, one at Jammu in Satwari and the second at Chashm-e-Shahi here. It markets milk and curd under the Snowcap brand across JK.
The company on Thursday announced a rate hike of Rs 2 per litre of pouched milk across JK, citing increased packaging and fodder costs.
While the JKMPCL may say that the hike is because of increased costs of logistics and packaging, the hike mirrors the business model of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation’s Amul company, which has been in close liaison with JKMPCL since 2004.
Both the plants of JKMPCL also pack milk of the Amul brand, besides of its flagship product Snowcap, which is also supplied to army units across JK.
Consumers say that in these pandemic times, the cooperative should not have raised prices of a food item as essential as milk. Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar, said that during summers there is sufficient fodder available for animals in Kashmir valley, and the milk production is also good enough to ensure sufficient supplies that could have helped ease the prices.
“The JKMPCL has said that it has increased the price by only 4 percent, but for a poor person it is a significant rise,” Ahmad said.
Meanwhile, the owner of a private milk marketing company told Kashmir Reader that as for now their rates will remain the same, but they too will have to increase the rates at some point as rising petrol costs have erased most of their profits.
Apart from transportation, the cost of food grade packaging has gone up significantly, as it is also a by-product of petroleum.
“Our union will soon take up the matter of rate enhancements with relevant quarters,” the owner said.
At present, a pouch of one litre milk, with 3 percent fat, marketed by other companies sells at Rs 44 in Srinagar.