India is the future of the global dairy industry and it has a huge potential to increase milk output, said Piercristiano Brazzale, President, International Dairy Federation (IDF). He credited India's small farmer-led cooperative dairy model for its leadership position.

Brazzale was in India for IDF's four-day World Dairy Summit organised in Greater Noida during September 12-15. The next edition of the summit would be held in Chicago in 2023, followed by Paris in 2024 and New Zealand in 2025.

India contributes nearly 23 per cent of world dairy output with 210 million tonnes of annual milk production, which is growing at six per cent, as against the global average of two per cent.

The small farmer-led cooperative dairy model is best suited for India and several cooperatives are using digitalisation to enhance quality and efficiency, Brazzale said.

"NDDB [National Dairy Development Board] and the cooperatives like Amul and Nandini are also supporting dairy farmers in breeding with genetic improvement," he said.

Way forward

The IDF chief noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought positive changes for the dairy sector with State-supported digitalisation. "Innovation and digitalisation are the future everywhere across sectors," he said.

He also underlined several challenges facing the dairy sector globally.

"Sustainability and environmental impact, animal healthcare, and guaranteed food safety are the three big challenges for the dairy sector," he said, while expressing concern over the problem of concurrency between dairy products and plant-based products or imitation products. Precision fermentation-made dairy products created by bacteria and some specific constituents of milk such as casein, lactose, pep and so on are mixed together to create a mozzarella-like product to give the impression that it is made from real milk. "This is a growing challenge, but in India it is not so important at the moment," he added.

Impact of inflation

On inflation, Brazzale said the problem is big and hurting stakeholders globally across value-chains.

"In Europe, we have a huge problem of increasing energy cost. The increase in the cost of one month of energy is equivalent to the profit of the entire year. So, at this moment for European industry, the situation is unsustainable and must be solved," he said.

Amidst the inflationary situation in India, Brazalle said, the solution for Indian dairy farmers lay in increasing efficiency in milk production. "Use digitalisation and implement new technology for efficiency, that is the only way. Also, with the help of the State, we need to fight the problem of speculation," he added.

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