Demand for local milk to soar due to DCD issue

By Lal Gunesekera

The local milk powder production is about 57,600 MT a year, but with the programme to increase production in place, the country’s needs could be met in four to five years time, Milco (Private) Limited  Chairman Sunil Wickramasinghe told The Island yesterday.

Wickramasinghe said that his company produced about 400 MT, of Highland full cream and non-fat varieties, a month and they sold fast and the company was unable to meet demand.

Milco Chairman said the demand for their products had increased with the Dicyanamide (DCD) scare in imported milk powder and with the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) confirming that local milk powder did not contain DCD.

The Milco Chief said that Sri Lanka imported 83,000 MT of milk powder last year (2012) at a cost of US$ 400 million and the time was now ripe to popularise liquid milk with Milco producing 120,000 litres a day. Liquid milk had a shelf life of 35 days without refrigeration, he said.Chairman of Pelwatte Dairy Industries Ariyaseeli Wickramanayake told The Island that they produced 360 MT of milk powder a month. Apart from butter, ice cream, yoghourt, liquid milk etc., but he was a worried man as he did not know what to do with the butter he produced.

Wickrmanayake said that Pelwatte since coming into operation one year back, had not been running at full capacity. It produced 1,000 MT of butter annually and had an excess of 300 MT after meeting the demand. The country imported 700 MT of butter annually, he said.

Imported milk powder contained 640 Mg of DCD per tonne and that worked out to five tonnes of DCD coming into the country last year (2012), according to statistics available, he said.

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