OUR DAIRY-OUR PRIDE
Though dairy industry in India is an inevitable part of rural economy, it is more than an economy related sector to Indian farmers who are socially, culturally, and emotionally attached to their animals. In the present article written by Dr. Amani, the potentiality of this sector in creating wide opportunities for educated unemployed youth of our highest youth population country in the world, India, where unemployment is also the highest is highlighted. Let us have a look........
Tired of listening to the pros of milk consumption and health benefits, it is time we concentrate on multiple opportunities the dairy industry has to provide for sustainable impact on society, environment, and economy. Contrary to many developed countries, dairying in India is more than a commercial activity where people here are emotionally attached to their animals. Dairying and animal husbandry serve as a source of livelihood for about 10 crore milk producer families of India and this sector contributes around 28.4% to the Agriculture GDP and 4.5% to National GDP. Hence, there is no doubt in concluding that the dairy sector is the economic backbone of rural India. It is true that the potential of dairy sector has an instrumental role in bringing a socio-economic transformation in today’s Indian educated unemployed youth.
As a nation, we are self-sufficient in this dairy sector where our farmers produce enough milk to sustain 100% of the country’s demand for milk and dairy products. With an annual production of 188 million metric tonnes (MMT) per annum worth INR 8 lakh crore and growing at a pace of 6.5 % for the past five years, India accounts for over one-fifth of the world milk production. Even the estimated per capita availability of milk at the rate of 394 grams per day is more than the ICMR recommendation of 284 grams per day. Milk is now the single largest commodity surpassing even the total value of output of food grains in the country. At present, India has been the leading producer and consumer of dairy products worldwide with almost 20.17℅ share in the global milk production. This shows the sustained growth in the availability of milk and milk products for our growing population. Though the journey to this level is not a petal path, it is achieved only through the pain staking efforts by our great leaders.
DAIRYING FOR HEALTH AND WEALTH
Milk as a vehicle to alleviate malnutrition:
As per the United Nations Report (The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019, FAO), 14.5 percent people are undernourished, 37.9 percent children under five years of age are stunted, 20.8 percent children under five years are wasted, and 51.4 percent of women of reproductive age are anaemic in our country. Though the corresponding figures are of serious concern, the dairy industry as a whole can take pride in eradicating hunger, ensuring nutritional security, and contributing to the sustainable food production systems, healthy lifestyle, and dietary pattern. This is particularly true for country like India where dairying is well intricately linked with livelihoods of millions of small milk producers in the rural areas. Milk an instrument for social and economic change: As a tool of socio-economic development, the dairy sector has been contributing to the livelihood of about 80 million of rural households who are engaged in milk production, of which 90 percent belong to the landless, marginal, and small land holders category. Thus, dairy plays important role in providing self-employment and poverty alleviation.
Empowerment of women:
Dairying promotes gender equality, as it is a woman led activity at the household level. Various activities related to livestock rearing and decisions related to money earned through dairying is upon women in the rural areas.
Protection against disasters:
Livestock, back up as the best insurance against drought, famine, and other unexpected natural calamities. It plays a significant role in income generation more precisely in hilly and mountaineous areas, where land resources are limited.
As per Livestock Census 2019, the bovine population of India which stood at 300 million, generated about 1600 million tonnes of manure per annum which can be converted into biogas (methane) for cooking, biofertilizer for agricultural production, and as an alternate source of fire wood.
Being the world’s largest milk producer doesn’t exclude Indian dairy industry from dreadful challenges it has to face to overcome the competitive stress from other countries like New Zealand and Australia in the form Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Than focusing on improving our own trade, our officials are immersed in avoiding invading other countries products into ours to protect our local farmers.
Few other obstacles that need to be concentrated are:
Improving genetic potential:
According to Livestock Census 2019, Govt of India, India ranks first in having highest bovine population about 302.79 Million, but the average yield is as low as 5.1 kg per day in India as opposed to the world average of 6.6 kg per day due to low yielding stock of animals. To bring about productivity enhancement of our indigenous animals, adopting semen of High Genetic Merit bulls for artificial insemination and use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) like OPU-IVEP (Ovum pick-up and in vitro embryo production), use of sex sorted semen and other advanced technologies like cloning, semen sexing, synthetic gamete usage, etc. However, the intense selection of indigenous dairy breeds for milk production trait is surpassing the other important traits like A2 allele in milk, disease resistance, low maintenance cost, heat tolerance, higher feed conversion efficiency, and many others thus affecting the overall reproductive performance. Now it is high time for the Indian government to focus on indigenous breeds like Gir which are improved to a level of high milk producers in Brazil.
Feed and fodder account for about 70 per cent of the total cost of milk production and therefore constitute a major focus area for achieving sustainable milk production. Presently, there is a shortage in feed and fodder as a result of which there is an imbalance in feeding which prevents the milch animals from producing milk that commensurates to their potential. However, animal feed requirement can be met by:
Improving the quality and utilization level of crop residues through conservation, densification, and enrichment.
Use of probiotics and prebiotics for improving the efficiency of rumen fermentation.
Changing the feeding practices based on scientific principles.
Use of biotechnology tools for developing fodder crop variants that are high yielding and resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Animal diseases are increasingly becoming a cause of serious concern, in particular those that have zoonotic importance. Every year farmers bear huge economic losses through these animal diseases that cause significant reduction in livestock productivity. There is a need to develop new generation vaccines that can be highly thermostable or marker type. Development of simple disease diagnosis kits can help the farmer to undertake quick diagnosis and initiate immediate treatment and disease control measures. Another area of concern is antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which is a resilient pandemic all over the globe as a result of indiscriminate use of antibiotics while treating the animals. Adoption of alternatives for the management of common ailments of animals, especially through ethnoveterinary medicine, would probably be one of the cost-effective and practical solutions for rationalizing the use of antibiotics thus minimizing the probability of development of AMR.
Strengthening Dairy Development Extension Programmes
Development of dairy Entrepreneurs:
Initiatives that motivate the dairy stakeholders to become dairy entrepreneurs are to be welcomed. The DADF, MoAFW, GoI has initiated Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme for strengthening the dairy development and creating more opportunities for up-coming dairy stakeholders. The recent Covid-19 pandemic, reduced employment opportunities, particularly for migrant workers seemed to be a great opportunity for governments in different states to promote dairy business in those districts where milk production and availability of milk supply chains are less than the national average.
India should develop a system to compete with developed countries where every milch animal is tagged with a number and every drop of milk processed, value added, marketed are instantly recorded.
The organized sector will have to progressively and systematically plan to expand their coverage of milk producers, penetrate into interior villages and improve their current share of marketable surplus. This, in turn, ensure availability of larger volumes of good quality milk at competitive prices to consumers. However it is constrained by many factors like dispersed location of villages, inadequate availability of milk for collection from each village, inappropriate collection, supply, and value addition chains etc.
Expanding processing infrastructure:
Milk is highly perishable commodity. Hence, handling of raw milk is the most critical activity of entire dairy value chain. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain cold chain from the time of milk collection to till it reaches the processing facility. Further, milk processing plants mostly operate with not so upgraded technology. Hence, there is an urgent need to create, upgrade, and modernize the milk processing infrastructure to strengthen the milk co-operative sector.
Extreme climate can cause significant adverse impact on animal productivity mainly the milk. To mitigate this effect, initiative like adopting climate friendly animal rearing practices, promoting traditional based treatment of diseases like homeopathy, ayurveda etc., need to be intensified.
Government Initiatives Pro-Dairy Sector
• Rashtriya Gokul Mission: Aims to develop and conserve indigenous breeds of bovine population. This is important to enhance milk production and make it more remunerative to the farmers.
• National Livestock Mission: It’s objective is to ensure quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems and capacity building of all stakeholders.
• Animal Husbandry Start-up Grand challenge: To appreciate innovations coming from villages to expand dairy sector in India.
• Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund: Approved for incentivizing investments by individual entrepreneurs, private companies, Farmers Producers Organizations(FPO). To increase milk processing capacity and product diversification thereby providing greater access for unorganized rural milk producers.
• National Animal Disease Control programme on FMD and Brucellosis: To increase coverage of FMD and Brucellosis vaccination.
• National Kamdhenu Breeding center: Development, conservation, preservation of indigenous breeds in holistic and scientific manner.
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Farmers, agriculture, dairy farming are all inter-wined sectors without which there wouldn’t be a chance for sustainable development of any developing country like India. And this development can be achieved by preserving our traditional practices like homeopathy and promoting them among the peer because they are side effect free and highly economical.
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Dr. Amani Mandali
ICAR- Indian Veterinary Research Institute
Dr. Hemalatha Talluri
Dr. Amit Kumar Tripathy