As India tops world milk production with a 23 per cent share in the global output, it is the free marketing model for milk that has helped India achieve broad-based growth of the dairy sector, Ramesh Chand, member of Niti Aayog said.

At the inauguration of the 49 th Dairy Industry Conference & Expo of the Indian Dairy Association (IDA) at Gandhinagar, Chand stated that the credit for India’s global leadership in the dairy space goes to cooperatives. He highlighted the absence of restrictive regulations on milk marketing and trade that fuelled growth for Indian dairy.

“If there was APMC-kind of restrictions on milk, perhaps milk would not have seen the growth it has seen. Farmers are free to sell milk in the village to the cooperatives or to the private players. That freedom and absence of restrictions by the law have been very favourable for the growth of this sector. Because of this reason, the share of dairy in farmers’ income has increased from 14 per cent in 2007 to 24 per cent in 2021,” he said.

Export markets

Chand said India’s annual dairy production growth (6 per cent) is six times higher than the population growth rate of about 1 per cent. “According to nutrition experts, a healthy person needs 380 ml of milk per day. Considering the spoilage, the per capita production should be around 420 ml per day. As a country, we crossed this important milestone in 2020-21 and our production is above the recommended levels.”

To ensure sustained growth of the industry, Chand suggested looking at export markets and making the dairy sector more competitive.

Phenomenal growth

In his presidential address at the event, R S Sodhi, President, IDA stated that the Conference had returned to Gujarat after 27 years. In this period, milk production has grown from 71 million tonnes (mt) to 222 mt.

“The future is bright for dairy sector. The current 140 crore population is set to grow to 165 crore while the organised milk market will grow from ₹11 lakh crore now to ₹30 lakh crore in the next 30 years. This will generate 1.25 crore jobs in coming years,” he said.

The event’s chief guest, Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister for animal husbandry and dairying, emphasised breed improvement measures. “Our average milk yield is 2.5 to 3 litres and still we are the world’s top dairy producer. We need to resolve to make this average yield to 10 litres and improve our breeds accordingly. We need to take up this mission to achieve higher yield and become cost competitive,” said Rupala.

Under the theme of “India Dairy to the world: Opportunities & Challenges”, Piercristiano Brazzale, President of the International Dairy Federation (IDF), and Meenesh Shah, Chairman, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) addressed the gathering.