CII : DAIRY VISION 2025 DELHI: KEYNOTE ADDRESS

 

CII : DAIRY VISION 2025 DELHI: KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Minister of Agriculture, Government of India Mr Anup Thakur, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Shri MK Jalan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Dairy, Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII,  and participants …..

 
I compliment CII for this initiative and thank you for inviting me to this important seminar.
  
First, let us take a look at the current scenario.  India continues to be  the largest producer of milk in the world since 1997 thanks to Operation Flood. The production of milk in India stands at 137.6 million tonnes in 2013-14, which is about 18% of the world’s milk production.  The value of milk produced (Rs.350,000 crores)  is more than the total value of paddy and wheat produced in this country.  This underlines the importance of the dairy sector for the rural economy.   The important part of this growth story (unlike in some other sectors of agriculture) is that the per capita availability of milk has moved up from 112  gms per day  in 1970-71 to 302 gms per day in 2013-14. 
 
We also have the largest bovine population in the world consisting of 191 million cattle and 109 million buffaloes. The in milk population however is only 80.5 million.  More than 50% of the milk comes from buffaloes.  Among the cattle 79%  is indigenous and 21% is crossbred.  The indigenous cows produce about 2.50 kg. of milk per day while the crossbred cows produce about 6.78 kg. per day and the buffaloes about 4.91 kg. per day. 
 
Milk cooperatives procure about 10% of the total production which is about 18% of the marketable surplus.  A similar quantity is reportedly procured by the private sector.  Both the sectors together account for only about  35% of the marketable surplus.  This means that a large quantity of milk remains unprocessed.  The installed processing capacity of the cooperative sector 43.3 million litres /day  while they actually process an average 33.5 million litres/day.  As per available data, the registered (as different from installed) capacity of private sector milk processors in India is 73.3 million litres/day.  It is recognized that post liberalization in 1991, the role of private sector in dairying has increased significantly thereby accounting for  a significant share of the market. 
 
Looking at the Indian dairy scenario  2025,
We can  make the following assumptions:
1.    The demand for milk and dairy products is expected to grow at a higher rate compared to the previous decade due to accelerated economic growth. The inequities  in consumption is likely to remain.
2.    The interventions for reducing under-nutrition will require higher production and consumption of dairy products.  Dairying would be a major intervention in the rural poverty alleviation strategy. 
3.    There will be significant challenges to the growth of dairying in India, primarily arising from challenges in increasing productivity of animals, climate variability and availability of fodder and water apart from infrastructure for processing and availability of power. 
 
Given this scenario, two major interventions are needed –
1.    A well-conceived strategy for increasing productivity of milch animals and thereby increasing  milk production
2.    Providing  rural milk producers with greater access to the organised milk processing sector. 
This is what the National Dairy Plan I attempts to do. 
 
Increasing productivity of milch animals inter-alia involves the following:
1.    Improving the genetic potential of existing animals
2.    Improving the quality of feed and fodder
3.    Improving animal husbandry and veterinary services.
 
Efforts to improve the genetic potential of animals requires selection and production of High Genetic Merit bulls mostly from the indigenous breeds and a few from exotic breeds supported by a  successful programme of artificial insemination across the country.  Production of good quality disease free semen and effective Artificial Insemination services are keys to a successful genetic improvement programme.  On both these counts,  we have a lot of ground to cover.  Efforts are being made to improve the quality of semen stations and upgrade them to A & B grades. The requirement for production of semen by 2016-17 is expected to be 100 million straws. While this is possible to do, the quality and success of AI delivery services remains an area of concern.  The State Governments, dairy cooperatives and other agencies will have to take this task seriously  and ensure that the farmers get the services of their choice at their doorstep.  Given our endowments,  India will not be able to increase the cattle population to get more milk, the only option is increase in productivity.
 
One of the major problems in the dairy sector is the availability of good quality feed and fodder.  The Indian dairy sector has, by and large, depended on agricultural residues for fodder.  It will continue to be so given the sustainability concerns of dairy farming.   Given the compulsions (on economic and ecological considerations) of using crop residues as fodder, balancing the feed with adequate nutrients becomes a necessity.  Most of the milch animals in India do not perform to their genetic potential mainly on account of imbalanced feeding practices.  The ration balancing programme introduced by NDDB has shown that adoption of a balanced ration can significantly reduce the cost of feeding and increase the quality and quantity of milk produced by the milch animals thereby giving an economic benefit of  Rs.15 to Rs.35 per animal/day to the farmer.  NDDB is committed to expand and intensify this programme in the project area covering 14 major States.  
 
Production of fodder continues to be a challenge since fodder cultivation is still not a well planned activity.    There is a need for a major policy shift to make available common lands in the villages to groups of dairy farmers for cultivating fodder.  The potential for cultivating fodder in current fallows also remains unexploited.   Schemes to encourage fodder cultivation need to take off immediately.
 
The management of animal diseases is crucial to the economic well-being of farmers.  Even though we can take pride in the number of veterinary hospitals, the quality of service provided for vaccination or treatment of diseases is inadequate and often beyond the reach of the farmers.  This is particularly so in remote and impoverished areas of the country.  The system needs an overhaul with a focus on providing efficient services to farmers albeit at a cost. If this is not done, efforts at improving dairy productivity in the backward regions of India may fail.
 
Linking dairy farmers to the market is the most important element of any plan to increase dairy productivity.  If farmers are not able to sell their surplus milk at a fair price every day of the year, any attempt at increasing production or productivity will be a non starter.  Successful milk cooperatives have shown that through a process of efficient procurement, transparent pricing,  product development and marketing, at least 75% (some of the do 85%) of the consumer rupee can be transferred to the farmer.  We do not have similar information about the private sector.  In fact, there is a serious absence of data about the operations of private sector thereby making planning for the future that much more difficult. 
 
With the projected growth in demand for milk and milk products by 2025, there will also be a large demand for investment, production of machinery and trained manpower.  (There are various projections available.  The most probable one says that we need to increase production by at 8-9 million tonnes per year every year till 2025 (+100 million?).  The Co-ops and the private sector together will need a to process at least 25% of the total production)

The demand for trained manpower has to be met by expanding and upscaling our existing education and training network.  Many of the dairy science colleges would need to make a shift from a  theoretical class room training to a minimum level of ‘hands on training’ in dairy technology.  Otherwise, many of these students may find  themselves ‘unemployable’ in the sector.