Fresh milk producers face competition from imported condensed milk

The Myanmar dairy industry has been growing over the past few years as access to electricity, which is essential for the development of the sector, improves, U Khin Maung Win, chair Myanmar Livestock Federation, told The Myanmar Times.

“We started selling milk in 2006 and demand has not stopped growing since then. More and more people are drinking milk and the market continues to grow as electricity supply improves, enabling the sale of milk in rural areas,” he said.

Demand in the city, in particular, has spiked in recent years as more become aware of the benefits of drinking milk. In the more urban areas, milk is now sold for between K500 and K2200 per viss (1.6 liters).

With demand growing, Myanmar is receiving help to boost domestic milk production from international countries such as Germany and New Zealand.

With the help of New Zealand, for example, Myanmar, under the term of former President U Thein Sein, was able to implement seven international-standard dairy production farms in Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Yangon. Currently, New Zealand is also providing assistance to small cattle farms across the regions and states.

Myanmar has also received help to ensure good and consistent quality of its milk from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This includes educating breeders on the use of equipment, such as replacing plastic milk buckets with aluminum ones, ensuring the availability of pasture lands and taking steps to improve hygiene.

Now, breeders in Myanmar sell up to 1000 viss of milk per day compared to less than 10 viss when the industry first started more than a decade ago.

Still, the industry faces competition from imported dairy products such as condensed milk. “We are concerned about competition from condensed milk, which is used to make Myanmar tea. Moreover, there are many cheap counterfeit condensed milk products in the market, which is cannibalising demand for fresh milk sold by local breeders. There are no inspections taking place to control the sale of fake milk products. As such, we have appealed to the Consumer Affairs Department and requested that ingredient labels be printed on each milk product sold,” said U Khin Maung Lwin.

“If such labels are made compulsory, it will help both the fresh milk and legit condensed milk producers. Condensed milk consumption in Myanmar is at least ten times more than fresh milk consumption as even if people don’t drink milk, they drink almost two cups of tea per day,” he added.

So, if the government solves this issue, it will help the milk and dairy production industry, local condensed milk industry and dairy cattle farmers.

Myanmar currently imports dairy products worth US$6 million per year compared to less than US$1 million worth of milk produced locally.


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