August 15, 2008
Dairy companies in the United Arab Emirates UAE and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are confronting severe shortage of fresh milk during summer as herds produce less than normal in this period.
Dairy industry experts said that the problem is forcing some firms to use increasing amounts of skimmed milk powder as an alternative.
The shortage this year has been worsened by rising costs of imported animal feed, which has risen by nearly eighty per cent in a few months, prompting some farms to stop feeding costly fodder to milking cows.
At the same time, dairy companies also cannot raise their prices and the UAE Ministry of Economy has rejected a call by seven major dairy firms for price increase of between seven and 33 percent.
Werner Skaba, managing director of Dairy Tech, a consultant firm to leading dairy farms in the UAE, said dairy companies are facing 30 percent shortage in the UAE and the situation is not different in other Gulf countries.
He said due to the shortage of fresh milk, some companies were using milk powder to produce milk, yogurt and other dairy products. He added the use of fresh milk and milk powder by the UAE dairy industry could be in the ratio of 70:30.
Skaba said while larger dairy firms in the UAE use a lot of fresh milk, some of the smaller companies do not because of the shortage and for economic reasons.
Globally, dairy firms make milk and dairy products with skimmed milk powder, but companies have to disclose the contents on product packaging.