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Incredible Dairy India — More than Milk

As we begin the celebrations commemorating Dr Verghese Kurien’s Birth Centenary Year, let us pause for a moment to look at the significant achievements, the challenges and opportunities ahead in our dairy sector and what Dr Kurien might advise us to do.
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A Milk Moustache for the Economy

The Indian dairy sector has been registering a consistent annual growth of over 6 percent for the last several years. We account for some 22 percent of the global milk production with each year seeing India add more milk to the global pool than the entire European community. For a nation, which is still to shed the tag of being a developing entity despite its enormous size, it is no mean achievement to be sitting atop the world in this most critical food and livelihood sector. Further, this position is not likely to be challenged in either the near or distant future.
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Milk the Opportunities — Don’t Cow Down to Challenges

A global giant in production, yet a dwarf in productivity; this is what aptly defines Indian dairy. At a milk production of 188 million metric tonnes (mmt) during 2019, we are the world leader by several miles. The second placed United States of America recorded only half of this quantity at 98.72 million metric tonnes during this period.
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Let the Rivers of Milk Flow

Today, the White Revolution’s contribution to farm incomes surpasses that of the Green Revolution. Every fifth rupee generated in the farm sector — which includes the total output value of crops, livestock produce, and fisheries — comes from milk.
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Don’t allow it to be cowed down

Almost half of India’s milk, with higher solids, comes from buffaloes. Yet, this low-maintenance and efficient feed-converting animal finds little place in our dairy and livestock policy.
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How Dreams Turn Reality

It was this energy that was unleashed when Dr Verghese Kurien along with Shri Tribhuvandas Patel, embarked upon the journey of organising scores of small farmers who had been marginalised in the social and economic realm. The inspiring leadership of Patel and professional commitment of Dr Kurien was first manifested when the small Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union, often known as Amul Dairy which had begun its journey with just two village dairy cooperative societies and 247 litres of milk in 1946 was entrusted to Dr Kurien in 1950. Miraculously, this small unknown entity started growing from strength to strength; a growth which has been consistently on the rise over the past seven decades. This 247-litre milk dairy is now a globally respected brand, owned not by any corporate bigwigs or a conglomerate of landlords but by millions of farmers who individually would be too small to matter even in their own societies but their collective cooperative strength invites grudging respect from the biggest of global dairy giants.
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The way forward in milk fortification

FSSAI and NDDB should not dismiss valid concerns over addition of micronutrients in food even if the idea is well-intentioned
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Exploring the next Milky Way to growth

Indian dairies should go in for industrial-scale production of traditional milk products for selling in both domestic and export markets
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What we Need is not Food Security but Nutritional Security

We will need to harness all dairy chains and all milk pools if we are to have any chance of meeting the growing demands for dairy and closing the nutritional security gap for all. We will need to drive improvements in the productivity and sustainability of all production systems. We need to understand all consequences of current and future nutritional policies, standards and regulations as we try to combat both the diseases of affluence such as obesity and diabetes and of poverty such as stunting.
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R&D Roadmap to Strengthen the Indian Dairy Sector

There is a growing demand for safe, nutritious, health promoting milk products calling for value addition, product diversification and complete quality assurance. This warrants formulation of policies and programmes to control cost of milk production to evolve financially viable, environment friendly and user beneficial processing technologies as well as to facilitate flow of milk to the organised sector and strengthen the legitimate interests of various stakeholders at the national and international level.
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