India's co-operative diary model can be the guiding force to prosperity for poor countries, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating the International Dairy Federation (IDF)'s World Dairy Summit 2022 at Greater Noida on Monday.

India's dairy sector is different from other developed countries and its real strength has been the small and marginal farmers, who contribute majorly to India's milk production, Modi said.

"Production by masses and not the mass production, has been the distinction of India's dairy sector. This is rarely found elsewhere in the world. In this World Dairy Summit, I specially refer to this because it can be a great business model for the farmers of numerous poor nations around the world," Modi said adding that most of India's dairy producer farmers hold one, two or three animals.

India is hosting the summit after a gap of 48 years. During that period, India's milk output has grown from 23 million tonnes in 1974, to about 210 million tonnes now.

Co-operatives played a big role to make India self-reliant in dairy, and the country's dairy cooperative network has been unparalleled without a middleman. "About 70-per cent of the money received from the consumers directly go to the farmers in their accounts and in case of Gujarat the entire money go to the women dairy farmers. There is no other country in the world, where you would find such high ratio (of revenue sharing)," Modi said.

Indigenous breeds

From the World Dairy Summit platform, Modi also showcased to the world Indian dairy sector's other uniqueness such as indigenous breeds that are "climate comfortable and also equally adjusting" and women leadership, which form about 70 per cent workforce in dairy and about 1/3rd in cooperatives.

Modi also stated that women living in villages of India are the driving force for Rs 8.5-lakh crore Indian dairy industry. He appealed that the global leaders at World Dairy Summit need to recognize women's contribution in dairying and give them access to different global platforms.

Listing out the priorities in the coming times, Modi stated that the government now focuses on creating a balanced dairy ecosystem in the country. "We will look after not just milk and milk products, but also trying to find solutions for other challenges (like creating) additional income for farmers, empowering the poor, cleanliness, chemical-free farming, clean energy and animal care. These are all inter-linked areas. We are planning to make dairy sector and animal husbandry as a big medium for green and sustainable growth in the villages," he said pointing at the ongoing government schemes such as Rashtriya Gokul Mission, Govardhan Yojana, Digitisation of dairy sector, Universal vaccination of Animals are some of the efforts in this direction.

Notably, India's milk output is growing at six per cent, much higher than the global average of two per cent. India's per capita milk availability is the highest in the world.

(The writer is at IDF-WDS 2022 at the invitation of National Dairy Development Board)