Friday, October 15, 2010


It speaks well of the visionary quality of the dairy sector planners in India if one listens to the bold declaration by the apex body National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) regarding its plans to strive for raising the country's milk production to a record 180 million tons by the year 2021-2022. NDDB has the necessary credentials to speak on the subject having taken the country to the top of the list of milk producing nations through its earlier Operation Flood programs. That the Board is not talking about the GM route or consumer unfriendly artificial bio-based hormone regime to achieve the goal is all the more praise worthy when many other countries are using them to achieve unheard levels of productivity amongst milch animals. Here is a take on the strategy enunciated by NDDB as orchestrated by its CEO recently.

Dr Amrita Patel, chairman, National Dairy Development Board, addressed the National Seminar on "Indian Dairy and Food Industry – Future Roadmap for Sustainable Growth" on September 24 at the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, with some introspection on the dairy industry. Even though milk production had been increasing steadily, the demand for milk appeared to be increasing at a much faster rate. The increase in incomes and improved redistribution of such income in both urban and rural areas was fuelling this growth in demand, which did not seem to be significantly affected by increases in consumer price thereby confirming the growing purchasing power of urban households. "For low and middle income households, there should be an increasing concern over the rise in consumer price of milk, " said Dr Patel. The projected demand for milk by 2021-22 estimated at 180 million tonnes implied that milk production would have to be doubled and this would require India to increase its milk production (which has been growing annually at about 3.2 million tonnes over the last 15 years) to 6 million tonnes annually, without compromising on competitive advantage. The National Dairy Plan (NDP) had projected the organised dairy sector growing to handle about 65% of the marketable surplus by 2021-22 from the current level of about 30%.

Indian dairy industry is poised to develop dramatically in the coming years shifting the emphasis from pasteurized fluid milk to value added items like Cheese, Yogurt and milk powder based consumer products. The enormous opportunity afforded by the indigenous milk based products like khoa, chakka, paneer and down stream products based on them is yet to be tapped and organized R & D in this area needs further boost from organizations like NDDB and AMUL. Milk is by far the most balanced food, especially for a population starved of other animal based foods like egg, poultry, meat and fish mainly because of economic constraints and insufficient purchasing power. The innovative marketing strategy with fluid milk has enabled even for poorer populations to buy milk at Rs 5 in small sachets. Recent introduction of spiced Butter Milk in Tetra Pack units at comparatively low price is further proof that dairy sector can play a useful and constructive role as a health provider to millions of people in the country.

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