Milkfed Punjab yet to recover its Gulf exports

October 30th, 2010 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

By Alkesh Sharma
Chandigarh, Oct 30 (IANS) Milkfed Punjab is still coping with the financial jolt it suffered following recession as exports of its desi ghee, which had declined sharply, are yet to recover fully.

“Financial meltdown had badly affected our desi ghee exports to foreign countries. Before the meltdown (in 2008), we were exporting 100 tonnes of ghee (every month) to Dubai but today it has been reduced to only 50 tonnes. Although market has emerged out of the economics crisis, our business is still 40 to 50 per cent low as compared to previous years,” S.K. Dudeja, regional sales manager of Milkfed, told IANS.

“Currently Dubai is our main international market for desi ghee. Every month, we are exporting over 50 tonnes of ghee there. We are also sending 13 tonnes each to Australia and New Zealand every month but it is again less, compared to previous years,” said Dudeja.

Besides, nearly 39 tonnes ghee each is exported to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Muscat and Philippines.

“We had a huge Indian clientele in Dubai that was very fond of our ghee. But during the past couple of years, many of them have returned to India as they lost their jobs and many construction companies had shut their businesses there. Though we have started getting new orders, it will certainly take some time,” said V.K. Singh, managing director.

Milkfed cooperative came into existence in Punjab in 1973 with the objective of providing technical inputs to the milk producers to enhance production and marketing.

Singh said Milkfed is getting orders for its Ultra High Treatment (UHT) milk from countries like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. “But right now it is very difficult to meet their demands as we have to first cater to our local market.”

“The main consumer of UHT milk is Indian Army and we have to supply them around 90 lakh litres annually. But Milkfed is working to increase the production of UHT milk and hopefully we would start exporting it in the coming months,” he added.

According to Milkfed officials, UHT milk is produced when milk is boiled at over 200 degrees Celsius temperature and then immediately packed in air-tight packs. Its shelf life is nearly six months if the seal is not broken.

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at alkesh.s@ians.in)

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