Japan’s Milk Supply Problems
In recent months the Japanese dairy industry was affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That was especially challenging for the food sector. The milk demand generally decreased in the first months, as restaurants and schools (milk is served during lunches in Japanese schools) remained closed. Manufacturers had to deal with a major surplus of both fresh and processed milk-based products, as the lockdown was during the spring milking season- herds have to be milked to remain healthy. Production facilities switched to producing longer shelf-life products and as the Ministry of Agriculture claims, the production of skimmed milk powder in March increased by 14% on a year-over-year basis.
To cope with decreasing milk demand, back in April Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries launched a Plus One Project- campaign, promoting milk-based products. In the campaign’s spot, the government calls consumers to purchase at least one dairy product during their daily grocery shopping. By purchasing at least one Japanese originated product, citizens were convinced to have a beneficial impact on weakening the local dairy industry. Plus One Project happened to be unfortunately timed as in a few months with the ongoing campaign (and coronavirus epidemic as well) weather conditions in Japan started to change rapidly. August had seen a significant temperature rise, approximately 2°C referring to August 2019. Because of the heat, a major amount of Japanese herd of cows was affected. As Japan Dairy Association states, the output from the nation’s 7.3 million cows was approximately lower by 10%, due to heatstroke.
Meanwhile, the school season started and demand for milk products increased anew. Hopefully, the September forecast seems to be more promising, as the weather conditions will remain cooler.