Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) is expanding its factories in Biratnagar and Balaju allowing it boost daily production to 1,100 tonnes of skimmed milk powder (SMP) and 200,000 litres of milk respectively.
The present production capacities of the two plants are 600 tonnes of SMP and 140,000 litres of milk. DDC Spokesperson Giridhar Bajracharya said they would be inviting bids for the construction of the factory in Biratnagar next week. Similarly, the state-owned corporation plans to begin construction of the Balaju plant in the next two weeks. After the two plants have been expanded, DDC aims to end milk holidays even when there is excess milk production by farmers.
Milk holiday refers to the time when dairies stop buying fresh milk as there is more than they can handle. “The enlarged factories will allow us to collect milk continuously even during the flush season when farmers have excess production,” said Bajracharya. DDC has been collecting milk from more than 900 cooperatives across the country. It has been forced to declare milk holidays from time to time due to its limited production capacity. In recent times, the public enterprise declared a milk holiday for two weeks about nine months ago. Farmers suffered as they were forced to dump their milk for lack of buyers. The expansion of the SMP plant is also expected to reduce production costs for DDC.
During the flush season which occurs from mid- August to mid-February, DDC supplies 140,000 litres of milk daily in the Kathmandu valley with the milk collected from farmers. During the lean season (mid-February to mid- August), it imports milk from India or produces milk with imported SMP to fulfil market demand. “With the increased production capacity, we can also save on SMP import bills which have been rising in recent days,” said Bajracharya.
DDC has targeted starting production from its expanded plant in Balaju from mid-July. It has also planned to install a new production unit at the Balaju plant to manufacture yogurt and paneer. “We will set up a new incubation plant and milk processing vat for the purpose,” he said. According to DDC, the Balaju plant will be able to produce 5,000 litres of yogurt and 500 kg of paneer daily. Currently, the corporation produces 7,000 litres of yogurt from its Lainchaur plant.
DDC said the Balaju plan was conceived after its proposed production plant at Khumaltar got bogged down in legal troubles. A corruption case over the construction of its Khumaltar unit is presently under consideration at court.
Source: The Kathmandu Post