Sunday, September 28, 2014


Memories of late Dr V Kurien who pioneered the milk revolution in the country several decades ago may be fading and the younger generation who has never known the scarcity condition vis-a-vis milk availability of milk in the country that existed before nineteen eighties needs to be educated about his yeoman service in this area. Now that India is the top milk producing country in the world, it may be time to look ahead and see what is required to be done for the sustainability of dairy industry. It is here that the forward looking state of Punjab is providing the beacon to rest of the country. Here is a report about the innovative and progressive dairy farmers in that state which can be a role model for rest of the country.  

"Punjab is one of the top five milk producing states in the country. Punjab's per capita milk availability at 937 gm is nearly four times the national average of 252 gm. And the state's average yield is much higher than the national average. But a falling cattle population because of unviable backyard dairies and a labour shortage impacting commercial dairies posed a serious challenge to the growth of the dairy industry in the state. That is set to change now with Singh, one of 6,000-odd big farmers, going in for full automation. They have formed an association known as the Progressive Dairy Farmers' Association (PDFA). Together, they produce nearly 800,000 litres of milk a day. The average yield of a cow is nearly 8,000 litres in a lactation cycle against the national average of 1,500 litres, claim PDFA functionaries. And nearly 40 per cent of PDFA members have gone in for automation. The association owns a high-tech processing unit located 50 km away from Ludhiana city. And it has launched its own milk brand, La Pure Milk, which is marketed in Ludhiana. "I went to Israel in 2006 and saw cowsheds being built there. Upon enquiry, I got to know that a model cow shed should have a height of 35 feet and width of 120 feet. Such a shed allows proper ventilation and reduces the temperature inside by 4-5 per cent," recalls Daljeet Singh Gill, president of PFDA. He also happens to be a member of the Punjab State Farmers' Commission's advisory committee. Association members learnt about feeding techniques in France and Sweden and about fodder quality in New Zealand. PFDA helps members import machines and provides training to farmers on running them. Veterinary help, too, is extended quickly. The association is in the process of fixing marketing requirements of its members."

Suffice to say that Punjab will accomplish the feats of several dairy farming countries like New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and others in terms of raising of milk animals, production standards and processing and show its fellow countrymen that nothing is impossible if there is a will to work hard and set their vision high. The conflict between manual operation and mechanization is a real one in a country like India where unemployment is supposed to be high about 13% of the population. But food production and processing require quality human resources and skilled workers and only training and skill development can make unemployed people fit for absorption by the industry. Unless such skill is generated shortage of human resources will always compel the industry for more and more mechanization.


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