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News  


 

Milk food price hike being evaluated

By S. Selvakumar
The Pricing Authority of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade has begun deliberations following a request by the importers of milk foods that prices be increased to enable the business to be economically viable and avoid chaos for consumers.
Milk food importers on Thursday held a press conference and aired their woes. According to them, a 400 gramme packet of milk powder should be increased by at least Rs. 46 and failing to do so could result in a massive shortage since a majority of them would be compelled to stop imports.
This was not the first time in the recent past that milk food importers requested a price hike.
But their requests fell on deaf years, but this time round the Ministry has responded and instructed the Pricing Committee to go into all aspects and submit a report to consider the importers’ request.
Asked how long it would take for the report to be submitted, a spokesman for the Ministry said that he just could not give a time frame but assured it would be done soon and remedial action taken.
At Thursday’s press briefing the importers said that they had been demanding a reasonable price hike during the past ten months but without avail. They said the prices of milk foods had skyrocketed in the world market but locally they still retail at the same old prices that prevailed before the global price hike.
Though the local milk production had increased to an appreciable extent in the recent past following state sponsored incentives yet the demand far exceeds production.
A spokesman for the milk food importers said that at present they were losing Rs. 118 per kilo on imported milk powder. He said the price of a ton of milk powder had increased from 3,200 dollars a ton ten months ago to 4,630 in the past ten months, a 44 per cent increase.
Permission was granted in June last year to increase the price of a 400 gram pack from Rs. 225 to Rs. 244. He also said the global prices had shot up sharply following a heavy demand from Japan consequent to the March 11 devastating earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in that country affecting its dairy industry.
The Ministry spokesman also said the interest of the consumers as well that of the importers would be taken into consideration when the new price structure was worked out.