Caught in the political row over market place battle with popular Karnataka brand Nandini, Amul MD Jayen Mehta on Tuesday said the brand will sell milk and curd only through online channels in Bengaluru and there is no competition with Nandini milk which is much cheaper due to the state government subsidy.
Mehta asserted that there cannot be “Amul versus Nandini” scenario as both are co-operatives owned by farmers. Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) will sell its Amul products only through e-commerce platforms and there is absolutely no plan of full-fledged entry into Karnataka, he told PTI.
Also read: Explainer: The Amul vs Nandini battle in poll-bound Karnataka
‘Nandini milk much cheaper’
According to him, Amul has been selling fresh milk in two districts of north Karnataka since 2015-16, but “there is no competition” as Karnataka Milk Federation’s (KMF) Nandini milk is much cheaper than Amul because of the subsidy being provided by the state government. Amul milk is Rs 54 per litre while Nandini milk is Rs 39 per litre only as the state government provides subsidy to farmers, he added.
A massive political row has erupted after Amul’s announcement on April 5 that it will supply
milk and curd in Bengaluru. Opposition parties — Congress and the JDS — have trained their guns at the ruling BJP in the state when the assembly elections are less than a month away, expressing fears that the Rs 21,000 crore-Nandini brand, could be merged with Amul.
“There is no question of merger. Both are cooperatives. Amul is owned by farmers of Gujarat and Nandini is owned by farmers of Karnataka. Both of us have been working together not from now but since decades to build India’s cooperative dairy industry. This has made India the largest producer of milk in the world,” Mehta said.
Mehta, who is currently the MD in charge of GCMMF, emphasised that “there is no threat to Nandini from Amul and vice-versa. Both the cooperatives are working in coordination and cooperation with each other”.
Watch: Amul vs Nandini: The business aspect of Karnataka’s ‘milk war’
Selling milk in Huballi, Dharwad
About the launch of its products in Karnataka, Mehta said the co-operative has been selling fresh milk in Huballi and Dharwad in North Karnataka from 2015-16, although its volume is only 8,000-10,000 litres per day as against around 1.30 lakh litres of milk per day sold by Nandini in these two districts.
“People are saying that Amul has entered in Karnataka. But we are there from 2015-16 itself,” he said. The recent launch of Amul Taaza (toned milk) in Bengaluru is only and only through e-commerce platforms based on customers’ search data on online platforms, he added. He also ruled out plans for full-fledge entry into the Southern state as it is “not possible” because of the big price disadvantage.
GCMMF does not have milk processing plants and other infrastructure in Karnataka. Citing example about the association between the two co-operatives, he said even today Amul ice cream is getting manufactured from Nandini milk and packed in their plants. This association for ice-cream has been in place since 1998.
Also read: Amid row over Amul, Bengaluru hoteliers support ‘state’s dairy brand’ Nandini
Cooperation with Nandini
During 2020-21, when the country was grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, Mehta said GCMMF had purchased Rs 200 crore worth cheddar cheese from Nandini to support the farmers of Karnataka in view of surplus milk production at that time. “We also cooperate in many other ways, like giving technical supports,” he said.
GCMMF is expecting a 20 per cent growth in its revenue this fiscal to around Rs 66,000 crore on rising demand. It registered a turnover of Rs 55,055 crore in 2022-23, up 18.5 per cent from the previous year.
At present, GCMMF has 98 milk processing plants across the country with an installed capacity of 470 lakh litres per day. On an average, it is collecting 270 lakh litres of milk from farmers every day.
(With Agency inputs)