Barely 24 hours before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to reconvene a meeting to discuss policies on export of farm products and storage of grains, the government has conceded another major demand of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar by allowing export of caesin, a value-added milk product.
“Export of casein and casein products has been moved from the ‘prohibited’ to ‘restricted’ category. Export of casein is now permitted under licence,” an official statement issued tonight said. The government had banned exports of casein and milk powder in February last year, following a fall in the domestic supply of milk.
Yesterday, the government lifted the cap on export of cotton and allowed fresh registrations, following an improvement in domestic supplies.
Last month, Pawar had, in a strongly-worded letter to the prime minister, emphasised the need for having a farmer-centric policy on export of cotton, sugar and milk to prevent distress among the growers.
Yesterday, the PM had convened a meeting to discuss the issues raised by Pawar. It, however, was postponed, and is now scheduled to be held tomorrow. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Commerce and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma and Food Minister K V Thomas are expected to attend the deliberations.
The country had exported milk powder and casein worth Rs 500 crore in the 2009-10 financial year. The main markets for the products are Japan and Europe.
India, the world’s largest milk producer, currently has an annual production of about 121.8 million tonnes. Casein is a protein compound extracted from milk. About 30-35 litres of milk is required to produce 1 kg of casein.