Better infrastructure, quality standards required to make India a milk exporter: CII
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India’s milk consumption is growing faster than production and this could make the country an importer of milk if necessary steps are not taken by policy makers and other stakeholders, said representatives of the industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at the “Dairy Vision 2025” conference held with the support of Ministry of Agriculture. India is the world’s largest producer of milk (producing around 132 million tonnes per year as of 2012-13), but most of it is consumed in the domestic market and the sector remains largely unorganised. According to CII, the dairy sector in India is a “low input low output” system and suffers from a very low productivity per animal. Experts said that while programs like the “Rashtriya Gokul mission”, which aims to conserve and develop indigenous breeds, are helpful, much needs to be done to improve the dairy sector in India. They said that there is a need to launch a Bring the White Revolution to Eastern India (BWREI) program on the footsteps of Bringing the Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) program to improve India’s milk production. “This would enable in tapping the water potential of region, which is conducive for fodder production,” said T. Nandakumar, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
Salil Singhal, Co-Chairman, CII National Council on Agriculture warned that the demand for milk in India is now increasing at a much faster rate than production due to lifestyle changes. “In 11th five-year plan the average annual growth rate of the milk production was 4.51% whereas the consumption is estimated to grow between 6 to 8%. Therefore the gap in production and consumption is widening and India that consumes 100% of its production of milk and milk products may need to import milk if production does not keep pace,” he said. Singhal added that there is a need to consider dairy as an agro industry instead of just “backyard farming”. Siva Nagarajan, Co Chairman, CII National Committee on Dairy and Managing Director, Mother Dairy Fruits & Vegetables Ltd, called for continuous efforts to improve the productivity and quality of milk and to revamp the entire system, from producer to consumer. “If India has to derive benefits from its intrinsic advantage and emerge as an exporting country, it is imperative that we develop proper infrastructure, which is capable of meeting international quality requirements,” he said. Radha Mohan Singh, Minister of Agriculture, called for the participation of all sectors to improve the dairy production in India. He said, “Collective efforts by the Government, Co-operatives and private sector is needed for sustainable dairy development.” According to CII, India’s dairy sector is undergoing a transformation with increasing participation of the private sector in value-addition and growing demand for new products such as organic milk and milk products. The industry body is preparing an actionable roadmap which will be presented to the Agriculture Ministry.