Agriculture

Milk industry urges consumers not to panic over milk supplies

Epic video scene of a KZN farmer throwing away 28 000 litres of milk worth the value of R160 000 last week Tuesday, sent shockwaves across the country.

Milk industry was the latest to decry the events of last week, adding that thousands of litres of fresh milk were dumped by dairy farmers following the wake of the unrests.

“Considering that approximately two million litres of milk are produced daily in KwaZulu-Natal alone and that milk could not be distributed, the dairy producers in this province have been severely impacted,” said Fanie Ferreira, acting executive officer of the Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO).

MPO said it was unable to calculate the loss of revenue and would in time determine the carnage on the milk industry in that single week.

Last week, the national average milk price set by dairy processors was estimated at R5.97/l despite the unrests.

Maine Mofokeng, economist at Standard Bank said the demand for milk by processors remained stable, with the average milk-to-maize price ratio slightly becoming weaker by 0.3% w/w at 1.8 due to a stronger yellow maize price.

“The average milk-to-maize price ratio is still above the long-term average of 1.4. Certain processors have confirmed that there is enough milk and dairy products in the country and, specifically, in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng” he said.

Farmers in the KZN also reported difficulties in receiving animal feed and were concerned off the predicted fuel shortages.

Despite farmers unable to access trading routes over the last week, MPO was confident that the supply chain would rapidly return to normal and expected full operations by the coming week.

Consumers were called upon not to panic, as the supplies of milk and dairy products were forthcoming until the unrests subsided.

“The dairy industry is not in a crisis, although some serious damage has been done to certain infrastructure, with monetary losses right through the value chain,” said MPO chief economist Bertus van Heerden.

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