got Milk?

It is quite absurd really.

You, as being part of the human race, would want what you have asked for. Sometimes at least. For example, you go to the grocery store, ask for chicken. You expect chicken. Not a look-alike. Not the-next-best-thing. No. You want chicken.

In the same way, you ask for Milk. You turn to your doodhwaala. What do you get? Litres and litres of Water, with some Milk mixed in it perhaps. Akkhh. So, blaming the Pakistani culture of ‘corruption’, you turn to the big milk companies. Nestle, Haleeb and what not. You dish out more money to pay for the ‘7-layered protection’ of the milk packaging and some serious high quality milk. And what do you get?

Not milk. The milk that these companies (no one in specific because of lack of evidence, but one thing is for sure, most of them are involved in procuring white-lookin-chemically-equivalant-to-milk liquid instead of what comes out of your average cow!) procure is in large quantities and most of this is mixed with copious amount of water. But water is not harmful, now is it? You can say, you are drinking ‘lassi’ rather than milk. But the problem is when these companies involve themselves (either directly or by letting the doodhwaala do it) in adding – believe it or not – UREA fertilizers to cool the un-chilled milk for longer tranportation, or perhaps adding Washing detergent to extend the milk’s longivity or adding cooking oil to bring the fat percentage in milk to the required/acceptable level!

And we buy these products believing in the ‘brand’, and are duped everytime for the 10 to 15 ruppees we pay extra for ‘high-quality something’. God help our souls and stomachs. No wonder “milk in the morning” is not as energetic for our generation as claimed by our elders!

12 Comments so far

  1. Ammar (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 12:15 pm

    Lots of factual errors in the report man. Firstly its not the companies that add urea and cooking oil etc. The companies pay for the milk at various collection points. To ensure that the milk doesnt have water in it, they check its protien and fat content. To dupe that the people who give the milk at the collection point add water, urea (since its a protien breakdown product it registers as protien on the electric machine) and cooking oil.
    Whether the company “lets” the doodhwalas do this is highly debatable since theyre basically paying for urea and ghee which they could technically add themselves, and besides its not like there is a milk shortage in the country.
    Anyways, I’m not a company owner or worker, but these are the straight facts. I know this because i had a feasibility done on milk packaging and resale, and it turns out that just for transport from outside lahore plus maintaining a large farm with cows and buffaloes (that raise and lower their milk output inconsistently) the price of milk has to be atleast Rs. 40.
    No one in Pakistan is willing to pay that so i guess thats why even ure local dhoodhwala mixes water.


  2. Momekh (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

    Thank you Ammar for your insights. But a couple of background-points that I should have mentioned in my post, but frakly speaking, I was not expecting an objection on these technical and/or factual grounds! :)…

    I have some serious involvement in the milk industry and most of it is indirect. One of the reasons I am considering ‘joining’ the milk industry in a small way is to gain an advantage by providing pure milk, which I know for a fact based on research. I think is feasable. You have done a research report on costing which entails packaging and what not. Yes that takes the costs up. Upto Rs 40? That I would have to see to believe :) Send me that report! :) Anyways, your stance that the milk companies do not do this directly is plausable only because I have no evidence in terms of video footage or photographs. But one thing I know, the milk’s big guns know that what they are procuring is anything BUT milk and still they let it happen. Whether it is to keep the cost of milk down or to boost production hence profits or whatever is and never was part of the discussion. You see, fooling someone by advertising something and then selling something else puts the big ‘ethically-sound’ comapnies in the same boat as the average crook who mixes brick-dust with ‘laal mirch’ (grounded red pepper). No?

    In any case, I would really appreciate if you can throw more light on this specific topic to bring the ACTUAL truth out. I do not claim that what I have said is the final truth, all I say is that what I have said is not false either. Tweak if necessary please!

    thank you:)

    You would also appreciate the fact that more than 90 percent of the milk market in Lahore is serviced by the ‘milkman’. Some stats claim that figure to be as high as 97%, with only 3% of market share divided amongst the big guns of Nestle, Haleeb, Nurpur, Nirala etc etc.

    But anyways, It costs Rs 16 to 17 to procure ‘pure’ milk from an average milkman in Okara and Pakpattan districts. And by pure I mean milk with ‘only’ water in it, not urea or cooking oil etc.


  3. mahboob (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 11:03 pm

    “But anyways, It costs Rs 16 to 17 to procure ‘pure’ milk from an average milkman in Okara and Pakpattan districts. And by pure I mean milk with ‘only’ water in it, not urea or cooking oil etc.”
    thats true.
    and in khanewal i was told the milkpak factory was nearby and so transportation costs were not really high. its should probably average around 20, 25rs at the most by the time it’s packed.


  4. IllusionFS (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

    Oh, no wonder Engro decided to get into this milk business, they will be the industry leaders very soon because they already have good command on Engry Urea. LOL

    Interesting topic.

    cheers


  5. IllusionFS (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 2:31 pm

    I meant Engro Urea.


  6. Momekh (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 4:42 pm

    Just wanted to make it clear, milk supplied all over Lahore, and Pakistan for that matter, for most part, is corrupted in one way or the other, mostly by adding water to increase volume. And that, in my view is the ‘least’ acceptable alternative to milk.

    My complain is that the big companies ‘should’ take the lead in ethical business dealings, not only for the sake of proper business management, but for a much more nobler cause of being answerable to God. They are in a position to clamp down the corruption but they do not. Thier position is very understandable; such big investments and so much milk to sell! Ethics would have been easier had they been a part of thier mission from the time of the business’s conception. This makes thier ordeal (or massive profiteering in other words!) a whole lot more understandable. But it should NEVER be acceptable! Never. Corruption sucks. hmph!


  7. Ashir (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 9:26 pm

    Dear Momekh,

    First of all let me congratulate you for blowing the whistle on the “Big Milk” industry of Pakistan. Your email was an eye-opener for the general public which naively holds the big corporations (national/trans-national) in high regard and considers them to be immune to the usual corruptions of our society.

    As a matter of fact the local chapters of these multinationals are run by our “Pakistani Brothers” (rich and powerful ones actually) who can go to any length to satisfy their insatiable greed. I appreciate your cautiousness in saying that you don’t have any concrete proof but I believe that your suspicion is definitely founded on some solid anecdotal evidence and seems credible to me.

    Any one who is aware of our rural culture can easily understand the power equation between the impoverished individual suppliers and the powerful big industry. These ‘milk men’ or individual suppliers can not dare adulterate the milk they supply without the connivance/encouragement/knowledge of the corporate buyers.

    Please follow up on the story and provide us with more useful insight.

    I would also like to take this opportunity (in my maiden posting) to talk about the effectiveness of these types of internet Blogs for creative discussions besides the usual fun stuff.

    Internet is being heralded by many intellectuals and activists around the World as a great medium for public awareness and empowerment which will one day pave the way for the creation of a truly egalitarian society and social justice.

    Basically, it is the job of mass media (print and electronic) to investigate and reveal these types of social crimes but ironically most of the popular media of the world is itself owned by big corporations who regard it simply as a conflict of interest and avoid these type of political “hot potatoes”.

    I therefore encourage all educated and informed Pakistanis to use internet and especially this Blog for sharing revealing and informative stories.

    One good thing about internet, among many others, is the anonymity it offers and therefore the insiders can reveal big scandals within their own areas of work/interest without having to fear any retaliation.

    Insha-Ullah, some day we may be able to end the culture of corruption from our country.

    4Social-Justice(Ashir)


  8. Shoaib Ikram Ahmed (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 2:15 pm

    I want to digress to an important issue relating to the furure of Lahore, it has been reported in the print media that Punjab govt. is expanding Canal Road from presently four lane to six lane road to accomodate the growing traffic,and for that very purpose govt. will cut down 10,000 trees, so can we muster support to persuade the govt. to find other alternative or in order to maintain the naturaly balanced eco system grow 10,000 trees, i think this issue must be addressed urgently before it is too late


  9. Ammar (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 5:35 pm

    i totally agree that more can be done by the companies to make sure they put their money where their mouth is but then who does that in the land of the pure? its only since theyre still raking in the profits that they continue the status quo and since our media is too chicken to actually report this.
    i also agree that the local cost in okara, pakpattan indeed at my farm in kasur is not more than 16. Problem comes when you have to transport it to urban cities esp lahore where keeping a herd of animals inside city limits is not allowed.
    also claiming that local costs at a factory in khanewal is 20-25 rs is a judgement call. And it doesnt include the cost for running/setting up the factory as well transporting the packaged milk, so lets be fair in our assessments. Ive brought these arguments to light sort of as a devils advocate since i know a local company by the name of farm fresh that packages and transports PURE milk to select areas such as model town from a village near kot radha kishan and they brought their problems to light during a discussion.
    as for the report, you’d have to pay me the price that was paid to the consultancy for the feasibility report :P but trust me if u approach the matter with respect to make a healthy (not exorbitant) profit with PURE milk thats where the cost is.
    concerning companies e.g. nestle, i personally know that they had a very strong bid going to buy out haleeb and hence monopolize a number of years back but the haleeb guy fought it out.
    also if ud like theres a report called “milking profits” that is an insider account on unhealthy practices at nestle that you can find on wccftech.com if u want….just to show that im not a company stooge.
    coming to the problem at hand: if u want to ENSURE purity of milk in pakistan, the only way to be 100% sure is to produce the milk ureself, but then ud have to have a VERY large tract of land to provide fodder. if u even begin to think of having milk collected from various areas u cannot ensure purity. I mean to its credit the reason why companies put electronic machines to measure fat and protien percentage was that practice of the day was to add water. since our ppl have decided to start adding fertilizer to dupe the machines makes u wonder how much the company will be willing to invest in coming up with a new foolproof idea that our ppl would dupe by stooping even lower.

    lastly…corruption should NEVER be acceptable, but to understand and accept the situations that lead to corruption might allow us to fairly make a step to rooting it out


  10. Momekh (unregistered) on April 9th, 2006 @ 3:16 am

    The objective I guess, first of all at least, is to identify the ‘root’ of the problem. And that, like most trees will testify, is not the obvious base of the treetrunk, it is hidden. The root of the problem here of course is ‘lack of systems’ and not the supposedly greedy milkman or the greedier companies. Both have a tangible part to play, yes…One could argue that the root of the problem is ‘lack of God-conciousness’ and they’d be right as well. But systems that check and maintain the balance, they are necessary. To keep account of the milkman and the companies and everything in between.

    And the media, in all shapes and forms, from this blog to the biggest media outlet, should be as vocal about it as a ‘priest on Sunday’ with names being named, proofs being presented and all…

    and thank you all for the comments, keep em comin if you have somethin to say. And thankyou Ammar for raising the bar for the quality of comments :) …


  11. Mohammad Ali (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 3:12 pm

    Dear All,

    By analysing such critical and sophisticated blends of crossfunctional ideas & discussion, i have enjoyed the overall discussion and i am also glad to to find this forum, the best way of learning.

    You would also be very surprised to know that these big players (Nestle Milk Pak, Haleeb, Noorpur etc to whom you are talking) are also very much unstable now a days. The survival of them is being extremly difficult.

    The competition between Nestle MilkPak & Haleeb is going too much forward and the day is not so far when Haleeb would beat Nestle in Milk industry very soon.

    I am a student of MBA, right now working a brief study on Nestle MilkPak to critically analyse and make a company case, i would InshaAllah like to add more useful information that i am collecting with time.

    And i would also be thankful to those who would give me proper guidelines and authentic evidences for such big players in milk industry.

    Your recommendations would be much helpful to me in such matter.

    Thank you Momekh, Ammar, Aashir & all

    Regards


  12. amir (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 2:38 am

    A.A
    I just found this site while looking over some milk stuff on the net. I am setting up a medium sized (10000 to 20000)Ltr/day milk pasteurising and packaging unit.I have purchased all the other equipment except the packaging unit. i am still researching different packaging techniques to suite our country and keep the cost down, if any one has any suggestions plz email them or post them here ill backcheck.
    amir



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