Monday, October 20, 2014

Arrest this vendor! or the risks of an informal milk chain

On my recent field trip in India, i have tried to follow the milk routes from the producer to the final custumer. In Gaya town, milk reaches the cities mainly through an informal chain. Vendor on their bikes, get milk from farmers and sell on the street.

A milk vendor in Gaya
We interviewed one of the milk vendor. He told me that he sells different quality of milk. The highest quality goes for 40 rupees. After some discussions, i discovered that he is adding water to his milk. Water he promised me was very clean in his home. He would fix lower prices for the lower quality milk, i.e. the one in which he has mixed water, in such a way that he get the equivalent of 40 rupees per liter of pure milk. So if he would add 1/3 of water the price would go down by 1/3. It made a lot of sense...
the vendor we talked to
The people around me started to become very nervous, shouting at him that he is a thieve and i should arrest him! We let him bike away quickly, and i understood why promoting a formal milk chains in the area is crucial. The packed cooperative milk in other towns is cheaper, comes in a cool chain and is pasteurized...

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