Dairy sector is lifeline to India’s agricultural economy

May 29, 2019

A V Gupte


Chennai: I have been in the dairy technology industry for the last 60 years now, first in a job with the government, and later abroad. Today, I run a dairy consultancy.

Decades ago, in India, ‘dairy’ was integrated into the agriculture course but later, because of the size of the industry, it has become a course unto itself. I did a diploma in dairy technology but now it has intensified into a BTech degree.

There are other industries which are an offshoot to milk production — ice cream, cheese, butter for example — and that is what is making the dairy industry even more important.

While there are a number of opportunities in the dairy tech industry within the country, abroad too the demand is high for specialists. Research is another big area. My daughter-in-law for instance, is in the West Indies to do her PhD, where she is researching how vegetable cultures can be used to coagulate milk. There is always something churning in this industry, some innovation. Dairy chemistry and microbiology are also booming areas. Doing an MBA will also help for those who seek managerial positions.

Right from milking cows to latest technology to packaging to transportation, problems can arise anywhere. There can also be many lags in the already existing dairy plant leading to losses for the owner, which is why the industry needs experts.

Thanks to milk, there is no shortage of protein. Pumping in half the amount spent on high-priced pulses imports into organizing the dairy sector farmers. The dairy sector plays a seminal role in the agri-economy of this country and is lifeline to over 70 million dairy farmers hence there is a need to strengthen the still unorganized domestic sector first.

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