As tales of farmers dumping their milk inventory came through in the latter part of March and early April from around the world, arising from large-scale disruptions in the demand-supply chain caused by Covid-19, the overlying concern shaping the milk industry right now is that of food security.
Globally, with restaurants and schools shutting down, there was a sudden requirement to cater to the needs of retail groceries instead of the wholesale food-service markets, a logistical nightmare for industry players processing dairy produce, especially milk. As trucking and logistical companies found it increasingly difficult to hire drivers for vehicles, with many deciding to stop working due to fears arising from the spread of Covid, sales to major dairy export markets experienced sharp drops as the food-service sector saw large-scale disruptions.
Today, as the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of World Milk Day, which is also the overarching theme for the commemorative day, there is an urgent need to relay a sense of confidence among milk producers and get the demand-supply chain back on track. It’s true that the dairy industry was hit harder and earlier than most other agriculture industries considering its high perishability factor. Milk cannot be stored for long, and it cannot be frozen in wholesale quantities for later use, or even stored in silos like grain. So it had to be dumped.