Driven by village-level milk co-operative societies, India’s annual milk production will touch 330 million tonnes and contribute 33 per cent to the global milk output by 2033-34, said Union Minister for Home and Co-operation Amit Shah.

Addressing the Indian Dairy Association (IDA)‘s 49th Dairy Industry Conference & Expo at Gandhinagar, Shah stated that Ministry of Co-operation, jointly with National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and the Department of Animal Husbandry, Government of India, will set up Gramin Dairies (or primary milk producers’ society) across two lakh panchayats in the country.

“Once this happens, Indian dairy sector’s annual growth rate will jump from 6.6 per cent recorded in the past decade, to 13.80 per cent,” he said.

Dairy stats

He further said, “Our milk processing capacity is around 126 million litres per day, highest in the world. About 22 per cent of the total milk produced goes for processing. Whatever milk is processed and exported, will help increase farmers’ incomes. There is an immense potential in dairy products exports such as milk powder, butter and ghee. We have created a multi-state co-operative society for exports. Once the integration of 2 lakh dairy societies with export co-operative happens, our exports will increase at least five-fold,” he said. Currently, India’s dairy exports are estimated at around ₹47,000 crore.

He also noted that between 1970 and 2022, India’s population has increased four-fold, but milk production has increased by ten times. During the same period, India’s per capita milk consumption has increased from 107 grams per day to 427 grams, which is far ahead of the global average of 322 grams per day. “We should not be satisfied by being the world’s largest milk producer. We must also strive to become the world’s biggest dairy exporter,” the country’s first co-operation minister said.

Shah added that India’s dairy co-operatives provided a platform to the rural poor and women for marketing their milk produce. “There are about 9 crore families directly connected to the dairy sector. This means 45 crore people who are connected with this profession,” said Shah.

Budgetary sops needed

In his address, RS Sodhi, President, IDA, requested the Union Minister to consider giving due importance to the dairy sector in the Budget allocations. “Dairy sector contributes about 30 per cent to the agriculture economy. Whereas budgetary allocations for dairy is only two per cent. A budgetary assistance can be useful for the long-term support to dairy farmers.”

Addressing the gathering, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said, “Gujarat has been a model of overall development and is also a leader in the dairy industry with a 20 per cent share in the country’s milk production. Dairy farmers must look for value addition, and focus on the quality of milk and milk products for sustainable growth.” IDA’s Conference, being held in Gujarat after 27 years, also saw prestigious awards including the Dr Kurien Award, IDA Patron Award, and IDA Fellowship Awards, conferred to candidates.