India must focus on breed improvement, cattle productivity to become dairy to the world

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India must focus on breed improvement and enhancing cattle productivity to emerge as the dairy to the world, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala and dairy industry leaders said on Thursday.

They were speaking at the inaugural session of the Indian Dairy Association’s (IDA) 49th Dairy Industry Conference and Expo in Gandhinagar.

Taking place in Gujarat after a gap of 27 years, the three-day conference has brought together dairy experts and professionals from India and overseas, dairy cooperatives, milk producers, government officials, scientists, policymakers and planners, academicians and other stakeholders. The theme of the conference is “India Dairy to the world: Opportunities & Challenges”.

“The Indian dairy industry has grown at a remarkable pace and has the potential to ensure milk and dairy security for the world. The need of the hour is to focus on breed improvement. Even with an average milk production of 2.5-3 litres per cattle, we are the largest milk producer in the world. Imagine where India will reach in the dairy industry if we can increase productivity to 10 litres. We need to take up breed improvement on a mission mode to realise this goal and take the dairy industry to new highs in Amrit Kaal,” Union Minister Parshottam Rupala said.

In his address, RS Sodhi, President of Indian Dairy Association, said, “The last time Gujarat had hosted the Dairy Industry Conference was at Anand in 1996. The progress made by the dairy industry since then is unmatched. At the time, India’s milk production was only 71 million tonnes, which has gone up to 222 million tonnes now. India’s milk production has gone up by three times, but in Gujarat, it has grown by nine times from 30 lakh litres per day to 270 lakh litres. The determination to become self-reliant, efficient supply chain, and investments in infrastructure have contributed to the growth of the dairy industry.”

A souvenir of the Dairy Industry Conference was unveiled at the inaugural session. The Indian Dairy Association’s awards to recognise individuals and organisations for their contribution to the growth of the dairy industry were also presented on the occasion. Piercristiano Brazzale, President of  International Dairy Federation (IDF) shared his thoughts about the world dairy scenario.

NITI Aayog member Prof Ramesh Chand said, “Milk and milk products are playing an important role in meeting the country’s nutrition needs. According to nutrition experts, a healthy person needs 380 ml of milk per day. Considering the spoilage, the per capita production should be around 420 ml per day. As a country, we crossed this important milestone in 2020-21 and our production is above the recommended levels. India’s milk demand has been growing at 6% but the population growth is only 1%. To ensure sustained growth of the industry, we must look to develop markets for our milk overseas. We also need to focus on improving the quality of our milk.”

Delivering the keynote address, Meenesh Shah, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), said “We have a blueprint ready for vision 2047 and it is time we all effectively collaborate synergies to achieve it. By 2047, we plan to increase bovine productivity by four times, increase Indian dairy exports to 15% of total global dairy export, and build sustainable green practices to achieve COP26 targets. I invite you all to actively participate in this transformative expedition.”

Milk production in India was 222 million tonnes in 2021-22 and is expected to touch 628 million tonnes by 2047 due to increasing demand for dairy products driven by a growing population, higher purchasing power, and increased focus on nutrition. The Indian dairy market is worth Rs. 13 lakh crore, which is projected to double to more than Rs. 30 lakh crore by 2027.

The Dairy Industry Conference is a platform for dairy industry professionals to come together and discuss global dairy trends, farm innovations, sustainability within the sector, climate change, nutrition, and health with the objective of making India a hub of dairy innovations and solutions.

The latest technologies in milk production, storage, processing, and packaging solutions are on display during the three-day conference and exhibition. Two Ahmedabad-based companies, Prompt Group and Everest Instruments launched new technologies for efficient milk handling, thus resulting in enhanced returns to dairy farmers at the conference.

Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah will be the chief guest at the Indian Dairy Summit at 10:30 am on March 18. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Union Minister Parshottam Rupala, State Minister Jagdish Vishwakarma, Animal Husbandry & Dairying Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh, NDDB Chairman Meenesh Shah and IDF President Piercristiano Brazzale will be the guests of honour.

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