Mumbai: In an ugly cut ahead of the festival season starting with Ganeshotsav from August 31, fresh buffalo milk prices have been hiked by Rs 5/litre -- from the existing Rs 73 to Rs 78 now, an official said here on Monday.
The Mumbai Milk Producers Association (MMPA) -- with around 1,700 members -- will implement the revised fresh buffalo milk prices from September 1 till February 28, 2023, after which it may be reviewed, it was decided at a meeting presided over by C.K. Singh, committee member, on Sunday.
The MMPA Vice-President, Kasam Kashmiri, said that the price hike was unavoidable in view of the massive increase of 15-25 per cent in the prices of milch animals, their daily food items like seeds, chuni, chana-chuni, grass, and doubling of prices of grass, pinda, etc.
Singh said that the two years of Covid-19 pandemic spelt disaster for the stable owners in the Mumbai-Thane region and they were almost reduced to beggary.
"Now, that we are struggling back to normal, we are lacking financial resources in view of the high inflation on all fronts and have been forced to increase the fresh buffalo milk rates," Singh added.
Mumbai is one of the biggest urban markets with an annual turnover of around Rs 2000-crore generated by buffalo fresh milk alone, and is monopolised by people from eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The city with a population of around 1.75 crore consumes an average of 45 lakh litres per day, with a fresh buffalo milk component of over 700,000 litres.
"The maximum consumers for fresh buffalo milk are commercial users like hotels, restaurants, foodstuffs or sweetmeats producers, etc, plus households, in view of its creamy nature," explained Singh, hinting that the prices of all these milk-products items could also shoot up before Ganeshotsav, Navratri, Diwali, Christmas, etc. festivals over the next six months.
There are around 100,000 milch buffaloes including 35,000 in stables spread in Mumbai and the rest in Thane, from where milk is harvested daily and reaches the consumers here in over 1,000 trucks of milk-vans.
The trade is conducted by 1,700 stable owners and employs 12,000 persons directly working with the buffalos and another 5,000-plus in allied trades and retail outlets that survive directly on this business, said Singh.
The latest increase does not affect cow milk or the refrigerated milk and other products supplied by commercial dairies to the city from other parts of the state or rest of India.