The lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 came at the wrong time for the nearly 70 million dairy farmers across India, as it did for most other sectors. After consecutive years of subdued prices, milk procurement rates had started rising in the 2019-20 flush season, providing much-needed cash to farmers.
However, the restrictions imposed in March led to a sharp slump in demand from bulk consumers like hotels, restaurants, and roadside tea stalls, as they were forced to shut down. Sales of major milk products such as ice-cream, butter milk, and cheese, which usually spike during summer, also dropped.
The result was the drop in procurement by private and cooperative dairies. Reports suggest the procurement price of buffalo milk has