The 21-day lockdown to fight the deadly coronavirus has not only impacted people but also livestock. In Mumbai’s Aarey colony, which was in the news over a metro car shed being built by cutting down trees, is now facing a fodder crunch. The cowsheds in the area are home to 17,000 cattle but now their fodder will last only eight days. This is a worrying situation for those in the milk and dairy products business.
Aarey colony supplies milk to several places in Maharashtra. Price of fodder has been increased by 50 per cent and the irregular supply has already hit milk production.
“The price of fodder has increased. And I have fodder left only for eight days only. It has impacted the production. Earlier, for example, if there was 100 litres of milk, now it has dropped to 70 litres,” Sunil Mishra, the cattle shed manager told NDTV.
While milk may be an essential commodity, fodder isn’t. And that’s how the irregular supply of non-essential commodities is directly related to the production of what is categorised as essential.
Ice-cream, sweet factories and other by-products have now stopped procuring milk as they don’t have staff to manufacture these items and the factories are shut.
Rahil, a cattle shed owner is working on less staff and finding it difficult to maintain his business.
“Workers are stuck and now I don’t have enough workers here. Business is also down,” he says.
The government’s priority at this point is to ensure minimal interaction to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus and the lockdown is justified. But the cattle at Aarey need attention too because if fodder supply does not regularize, Mumbai’s milk supply could be affected too.