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Pet owners have difficulty finding feed as a challenge in the supply chain

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By largely focusing on the challenges people face, the suffering of pets and stray animals goes unnoticed.

Namrata Gandhi, owner of a pet living in Mumbai, whose eight-year-old dog has a health problem, ran from pillar to pillar to stock up on food prescribed by the veterinarian.

“I can’t experiment with another brand because it may not be suitable for my dog. Despite the efforts, I fear that I will be able to endure very little for 20 days, ”said Gandhi.

When announcing the closure, the center did not include animal feed as an essential item, making it difficult to purchase the items. The center later clarified that feed and pet food are essential.

Geeta Lama, a Gurugram pet owner, is concerned about her dog’s survival. “My dog ​​has not eaten in the past few days because his wet food has been delivered daily, which is not currently available,” he said.

Chhavi Dang from Mumbai has been struggling to get pet food because pet stores are closed and online portals are unavailable.

Manish Chedda, owner of a pet food store in Mumbai, said: “Distribution has not yet started because much of it is blocked for transportation and there is no information about the date of delivery of the company.”

According to the government, India had more than 2.5 million pets, about 536 million cattle and 851.81 million poultry in 2019.

Total chaos

While the blockade has hit people, especially migrant workers, day laborers, and the homeless, no one seems to be particularly concerned about pets, animal lovers say.

“Because human life is more important, animals are the first to be ignored during a crisis,” said Gauri Maulekhi, administrator of People for Animals, an NGO founded by Maneka Gandhi. “We have a breeding department and yet the supply chain for essential animal products is hampered. Suppliers, distributors, pet parents, and animal feed have run from pillar to pillar in most states to receive sanctions and ID cards. “”

According to Govind Suryawanshi, managing director of Royal Canin India, a French pet food company, the central problem is the lack of communication between the center, states and local authorities. Several government agencies had their own reports with different interpretations.

The owner of a Mumbai-based pet store who asked for anonymity informed BusinessLine that he opened his business on the first day of the curfew. “An officer hit me for allegedly breaking the rules, asked me to close the store, and I had to spend the night in prison,” he said. The Animal Welfare Council, suppliers, dealers and NGOs had to make statements to states and central governments to include animal feed and pharmaceuticals in the list of essential items. Services have started gradually but are very limited and this has affected the industry to a great extent.

Transport restrictions

According to industry sources, various local issues such as unavailability of human resources, restricted movement between districts, and lack of local production hamper the pet food and pharmaceutical supply chain. In addition, panic purchases have increased.

Certain foods and pet foods are made in India. This is mainly happening in Italy, France and the United States, which are all fighting the pandemic. As a result, production is limited, which in turn disrupts the supply chain.

Although the center has not banned the import of products, its movement from one district to another is limited, Suryawanshi of Royal Canin said.

“The movement at JNPT has stalled. The authorization itself takes 14 days, then at least seven days from anywhere in the country. In addition, there are fewer trucks available to deliver these products, “he added.

Every day’s delay, according to People for Animals’ Maulekhi, leads to serious food shortages. “The food in the harbors rots there, it is an essential and perishable item. She needs to be treated and released immediately, “he urged.

Ganesh Ramani, general manager of Mars Pet Nutrition India, said there was a lot of panic. Sales in February were as usual; In March, however, there was an interruption in the delivery of imported products, “he said. The company’s product portfolio includes pedigree, whiskey and IAMS.

Royal Canin and Shake Hands, pet chains, saw their purchases increase and both expect a short-term mismatch between supply and demand.

Everyone in the industry says it’s hard to know when companies will return to normal, but inventory levels should last at least a month.

Lack of human resources.

Even if the products reach the local destination, retailers do not have the appropriate staff to deliver them to retail stores.

On the one hand, Shake Hands has shortened the opening hours of its shops, on the other hand, the e-commerce website points out that products cannot be delivered due to the unavailability of employees.

Cuddles Pet Lifestyle, another pet food and accessories website, is currently not receiving any new orders. Sharon Misra, the founder, delivers personally pending orders due to lack of human resources. “My 12-year-old daughter is not feeling well and is waiting at home all day as we drive at least 100 km a day to bring food to the parents of the animals,” she said.

A Mumbai veterinarian who asked for anonymity said the drug distributors are also understaffed, which is a problem.

Maulekhi feared that the livelihood of daily play in connection with the animal feed industry in rural India would be affected.

Black marketing and inflation

According to Maulekhi, hoarding promotes black marketing and inflation because the availability of animal feed is unclear. “Most of the feed comes from Punjab and Haryana. Prices have skyrocketed in the past 20 days and are expected to continue to rise over the next 20 days. State governments don’t control it,” he said. -he explains.

Even the prices of processed pet food have skyrocketed because supply and demand don’t match, he added.

When asked if pet food prices could rise in the future, Ramani de Mars said it would depend on rising commodity prices.

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