The National Digital Livestock Mission (NDLM) is expected to be rolled out by April this year to create a technology-enabled and farmer-centric ecosystem , R K Singh, Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Dairying,has said.

Besides creating a digital database of the country’s livestock wealth, NDLM will improve delivery of services to farmers and update them with information in time, Singh said in his inaugural address to the national seminar on the ‘Indian Dairy Industry — Vision 2030’ held at Thrissur.

The seminar is jointly organised by Milma, the Indian Dairy Association and the Department of Dairy Development.

The NDLM is now underway in Uttarakhand on a pilot basis and will be rolled out throughout the country by April, Singh said, noting that this would be the world’s largest such programme.

The digitisation of livestock will help effective tracking, disease surveillance and information dissemination. This could be implemented easily in a state like Kerala, which has made good progress in tagging its livestock, he said.

Noting that India is now the world’s largest milk producer, Singh said it is important to tap the export potential of dairy products to make the sector a major contributor to the national income and ensure handsome returns to farmers.

Increasing productivity, expanding the organisied sector by bringing more farmers into co-operative networks and following sustainable practices are critical for the future growth of the dairy sector, Singh said.

Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Minister J Chinchurani said the efforts of the state government and Milma in assuring stable prices for farmers and affordable prices for consumers were the basic factors for the growth of the dairy sector in Kerala.

Meenesh C Shah, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), said increasing animal productivity, enhancing quality of milk, tapping export potential, strengthening the organised sector and adopting sustainable practices were five thrust areas that needed attention.

R S Sodhi, President, Indian Dairy Association, said the existence of a strong supply chain built, owned and managed by farmers, was the greatest contributor to the success story of the Indian dairy sector, which has come a long way since it started in the early 1970s with the White Revolution. Now, it was time to launch the second White Revolution.

Greater focus on enhancing export competitiveness, rationalisation of GST on dairy products and getting priority sector exemptions for dairy activity were also essential for future growth, he said. The dairy sector, which contributed 5.2 per cent of GDP, is expected to account for at least 7 per cent by 2030. Keeping milk production commercially viable is vitally important to achieve growth. There should also be adequate budgetary allocation by the state governments and the Centre. Severe shortage and high cost of cattle feed is a grim challenge faced by farmers today and this needs to be addressed in all seriousness, he said.