Any policy in dairying has to be pro farmer, pro women & pro nature: T Nanda Kumar

43rd Dairy Industry Conference

Ahmedabad, 19 February, 2015: While delivering the Keynote Address at the 43rd Dairy Industry Conference with the theme Dairying for Rural Prosperity organised by the Indian Dairy Association (IDA) on 19 February 2015 in Kolkata, Shri T Nanda Kumar, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) said that rural prosperity would not only mean economic growth for people living in rural areas, but also freedom from hunger, under-nutrition, ill health and lack of sanitation.

According to Shri Nanda Kumar, dairying in India remains a small holders’ livelihood option. Milk as a provider of nutrition and dairying as a provider of employment and income have to be recognised as effective state interventions in the context of rural prosperity. Planning for dairy development needs to be seen in this context.

NDDB Chairman said, “Today there are about 200 dairy cooperatives with about 16 million producer members in around 162,000 dairy cooperative societies. The dairy cooperatives have created a vast infrastructure—chilling: 390 LLPD; processing: 560 LLPD, drying: about 1450 MTPD and cattle feed manufacturing: 12,715 MTPD. They collectively procure about 340 LKGPD and sell 290 LLPD”.

Dairy cooperatives have ensured inclusive involvement of all sections of the milk producing community. Within this inclusive coverage, the membership of the dairy cooperative societies is predominantly drawn from the segments of rural society including women. He said, “The cooperatives have 4.3 million women members at present which constitutes about 30% of the total members of the dairy cooperative societies. There are programmes to prepare women for governance and leadership roles in their cooperatives. Of the total women members, about 2.4 lakhs have emerged as elected leaders in the Management Committees of their village dairy cooperatives and around 230 of them have risen to be elected on the Boards of their district milk unions. Around 25,000 Societies are exclusive women dairy cooperative societies. Further, two Milk Unions, viz., Ichhamati Cooperative Milk Union in West Bengal and Mulukanoor Women’s Mutually Aided Milk Producers Cooperative Union in Telengana have evolved as all women cooperative dairies completely managed and governed by them”.

Shri Nanda Kumar said that from 1988 onwards, NDDB has placed a major emphasis on women’s education and capacity building as part of the Cooperative Development programme, an activity designed to strengthen the role of women in the control and governance of the dairy cooperatives. NDDB encourages the participation of at least 50% of the trainees being women in its training programmes. With increasing feminisation of agriculture, the role of women in dairying activities is expected to increase. This provides us with an excellent opportunity to bring more women into the organised dairy sector. Training programmes designed exclusively for women are being promoted. NDDB has launched an ambitious programme of enrolling 2.5 million women as new members of dairy cooperatives in the next 10 years. Payments directly to women through their bank account will ensure economic freedom for our women and result in more equitable social and economic growth.

NDDB’s National Dairy Plan Phase I (a Central Sector Scheme) focusses on 16 major milk producing states and envisages a few key outputs: Production of 2500 High Genetic Merit cattle and buffalo bull through Progeny Testing and Pedigree Selection programme; Production of 100 million semen doses per annum by strengthening A and B grade semen stations; Providing balanced ration to 2.7 million milch animals in 40,000 villages through local resource persons using locally available feed ingredients. This will be achieved through a ‘digital connect with dairy’ enabled by Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH); Strengthening and expanding milk procurement system at village level by covering 24,000 villages and enrolling about 1.2 million milk producers. Focus would be to cover about 50% women as new milk producer members. The benefits accruing will, however, cover other states as well. He said that other schemes like National Project for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development (NPBBDD), Livestock Health and Disease Control (LH&DC), National Livestock Mission (NLM) and the RKVY are also in operation. Convergence with all programmes in the dairy sector is the need of the hour to ensure that available financial resources are put to optimal use.

While hinting about bigger challenges, he said that climate change is one of them. The projected rise in temperature coupled with variability in precipitation is likely to aggravate the heat stress in dairy animals impacting their productive and reproductive performance thus affecting the vulnerable sections of milk producers. In addition, the impact on health of animals is yet to be fully understood. There could be even more pressure on feed and fodder.

However, Eastern India which is blessed with more water than some of the other parts of the country has an inherent advantage in promoting dairying in a much bigger way than it has done so far. The demands for poverty alleviation in this region also point to the need for a large integrated programme for dairy development. Such a programme should address not only genetic improvement but also upgrading of present capabilities in processing, animal healthcare and veterinary services, managing feed and fodder and more importantly creating an efficient marketing network linking rural dairy producers to the markets and ensuring that the dairy farmers (in most cases, women) get their due share of the consumer rupee.

Chairman NDDB said that though milk is the largest agricultural commodity in the country, the value of which is much more than the combined value of paddy and wheat, budgetary provision for the sector is inadequate and much lower compared to agriculture.

Shri Nanda Kumar opined that the growth in milk production so far has been achieved by a combination of increase in animal population and productivity. We need to shift the balance in favour of increased productivity with lesser animals. At present about one fourth of country’s breedable animals are covered under Artificial Insemination (AI). This needs to be stepped up to bring about productivity improvement through genetic upgradation. Management of feed and fodder is going to be crucial. Area specific combinations need to be worked out and propagated.

The share of the organised sector (including private) in handling of liquid milk is about one third. In the context of consumer concerns and food safety, the share of the organised sector needs to be doubled. It is therefore imperative that all the organised processors in the sector work together to provide safe milk to consumers and a fair price to farmers.

He said that cooperatives and farmer producer organisations will continue to play a dominant role. The management and technical capabilities of these organisations need to be strengthened. The processing capacities existing in the country need strengthening, modification and refurbishment. Apart from issues of food safety, energy efficiency and water efficiency also need to be addressed.

He mentioned that this conference will bring dairy industry, policy makers, technologists and milk producers together to deliberate on the potential of dairying as an instrument for rural prosperity.