Nepali dairy industries have incurred a total loss of around Rs 3 billion in the two months of the ongoing lockdown. In a video press conference organised by the Nepal Dairy Association (NDA) today, entrepreneurs informed that sales of dairy products have declined by 80 percent over the past two months due to the travel and transport restrictions imposed by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus. “The loss of market in the main production season has created several problems for us from making payments to farmers, rent, electricity bills to provide salaries to staff,” said Pralahad Dahal, general secretary of NDA. According to him, the losses will increase further as items skim milk powder and butter worth Rs 5 billion stocked by dairy industries are set to expire in the next few months.
Dahal informed that Rs 30 billion has been invested in the Nepali dairy industry till date. Similarly, half a million farmers and 20,000 workers are directly associated with the sector.
Dairy sector seeks government support
As the situation worsens due to the lockdown becoming longer than anticipated, dairy entrepreneurs look for support from the government. At the press conference, NDA made public its demands seeking relief package to help dairy industries to withstand the crisis. Entrepreneurs urged the government to include measures to address their grievances in the Federal Budget for the upcoming fiscal year. They have demanded to provide collateral-free concessional loan for a period of five years.
Similarly, their other demands include increasing of loan terms and lowering of lending interest rate for the lockdown period. They have asked the government to re-introduce 50 percent VAT exemption to dairy industries and 50 percent discount on electricity bills.