INDIA – In a gathering aimed at redefining the trajectory of India’s dairy industry, key stakeholders convened at the Conference on the Future Roadmap for the Indian Dairy Sector.

Organized by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying (Min FAHD), and the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), the event laid out the ambitious plans to transform India’s dairy sector into a global leader.

Dr. Jignesh Shah, Group Head of Sectoral Analysis & Planning at NDDB, delivered a compelling presentation on the vision for the Indian dairy sector.

He highlighted critical areas needing attention, including enhancing dairy animal productivity to optimize resource use, providing better returns for dairy farmers, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr. Shah emphasized the importance of increasing the share of the organized sector to benefit both producers and consumers.

He also stressed the need to boost the production of value-added dairy products to meet rising consumer demand and maximize returns for farmers.

 Furthermore, Dr. Shah articulated a vision of India becoming a major player in the global dairy trade, advocating for climate-smart dairying through sustainable practices.

Dr. Meenesh C Shah, Chairman of NDDB, in his welcome address, highlighted the significance of the conference as a platform for policymakers, decision-makers, and research institutes to brainstorm and outline the future pathway for the dairy sector.

He lauded India’s transformation from a milk-deficit nation to the world’s largest milk producer and expressed optimism about the onset of White Revolution 2.0.

Dr. Shah emphasized the necessity of adding value to milk and its products to ensure competitive prices for farmers.

He also underscored the importance of sustainability in elevating India’s global standing.

Expanding the reach of cooperatives, he noted, remains crucial for increasing the organized sector’s share, particularly in regions yet to be covered.

 Dr. Shah also mentioned that discussions on milk and milk product exports would address policy interventions aimed at significantly boosting export growth rates.

The conference was inaugurated by Ms. Alka Upadhyaya, Secretary of DAHD, in the presence of several distinguished dignitaries, including Dr. NH Kelawala, Vice Chancellor of Kamdhenu University, Dr. Dheer Singh, Director of ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, and senior executives from Banas Dairy and Amul.

In her address, Ms. Upadhyaya outlined several key interventions necessary for enhancing the Indian dairy sector.

She emphasized effective livestock health planning, vaccination, and improved nutrition practices as essential for significantly boosting animal productivity.

Ms. Upadhyaya advocated for revising breeding policies to incorporate good practices aimed at improving the genetic makeup of indigenous animals.

She noted that these discussions are crucial for shaping the Rashtriya Gokul Mission for the next five years, which requires substantial revisions.

Ms. Upadhyaya also proposed that both the cooperative and private sectors could achieve rapid growth by leveraging each other’s strengths, thereby strengthening the organized dairy sector.

She stressed the need for value addition and infrastructure development for milk processing to meet domestic consumption demands.

Furthermore, she called for the promotion and expansion of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) free zones.

Emphasizing the importance of traceability, she suggested introducing pilot projects for traceability mechanisms as a significant step forward for the industry.

The conference also addressed the recent decline in India’s dairy exports. Despite a 10 percent rise in export volumes, the total value dropped by a fifth to US$468 million in 2023-24, down from a record  US$588.93 million the previous year.

This decline was attributed to lower prices for skimmed milk powder and other products.

The volume of dairy product exports increased from 1.56 lakh tonnes to 1.73 lakh tonnes during the same period.

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