Dairy activities have traditionally been integral to India’s rural economy and it’s no wonder the country ranks as the world’s largest producer and consumer of dairy products. The demand for milk is tremendous, and is growing not only in cities but also in small towns and rural areas. Over the past two decades, dairy farming has progressed in the direction of becoming an organized industry that encompasses not only increased production of milk and milk products, but also the breeding of higher yielding cattle, scientific rearing of animals and feed production.   Dairy farming in India is now evolving from just an agrarian way of life to a professionally managed industry.

Transformation of this sector is being induced by such positive factors like newfound interest on the part of the organized sector, new markets, easy credit facilities, dairy friendly policies by the government, etc. The government and other stakeholders are increasingly coming forward to help the growth of the sector. Ministry of Agriculture and Framers’ Welfare as well as Ministry of Food Processing Industries have initiated  several steps to encourage organised growth of dairy farming and production of dairy products.

Though India can legitimately boast of having one of the world’s largest cattle population, the average output of an Indian cow is significantly lower compared to its American counterpart. The average milk yield per milch cattle  in India has been reported around 987 Kg per lactation as compared to 7038 Kg per lactation in USA and more than 9291 Kg per lactation in Israel. Besides, the Indian dairy sector is plagued with various other impediments like shortage of fodder, poor quality of feed, dismal transportation facilities and a poorly developed cold chain infrastructure. As a result, the supply side lacks in elasticity that is expected of it.

From practice to lucrative business
An estimated eight crore rural families across India are engaged in dairy production and the rural market consumes over half of the total milk produce. About 75% of milk is consumed at the household level which is not a part of commercial dairying. Loose milk has a larger market in India as it is perceived to be fresh by most consumers. Hence commercialisation of dairy farming as a business activity is the need of the hour. Most of the farmers keep 2-3 dairy animals and sell milk locally. Thus, dairying business goes virtually unnoticed and is seen as a subsidiary farming activity.
Owing to conventional dietary habits of Indian households, about 60 percent of milk produced is consumed in the liquid form and the remaining is consumed in the form of butter, clarified butter (desi ghee), cheese, curd, paneer, ice cream, dairy whiteners and traditional sweets. There is enormous scope for the industry in the field of value-added products including desserts, beverages, yoghurt and so on. It is expected that the demand for processed and packaged dairy produce will witness a phenomenal growth in urban centres  due to growing population with higher disposable income and greater health consciousness.

Emergence of Commercial Dairy Farming
One emerging trend in Indian dairying is the growing number of the commercial dairy farms in the urban and peri-urban areas of the metros and big cities. These dairies mainly cater to the needs of the urban consumers. Their average herd size ranges from having 10 to 20 milch animals (small size dairy farms), 21 to 50 milch animals ( medium size dairy farms) to more than 50 milch animals (large size dairy farms).  Realizing the   growing importance of commercialisation, the livestock sector needs to meet the challenges of globalization, in terms of organized production and marketing.

Many States’ Dairy Development Departments, cooperatives like Amul and private sector dairy players are giving an impetus to setting up  Hi-tech commercial dairy farms leading to clean milk production.

Holistic growth 
Since agriculture and dairy sector share a relationship because of the mutually linked inputs and outputs, it is important to promote the two in tandem to move towards holistic growth. It is important to introduce efficient feeding methods and feeds, encourage commercialization and mechanization of dairy farms, develop networks to promote processed food and beverages based on milk, have well managed cold chain facilities to minimize wastage and organize the sector.

In order to promote these and ensure the all-round development of the Indian dairy industry, we invite dairy companies, investors, packaging and processing machinery manufacturers, cold-chain developers, feeds suppliers, livestock healthcare companies to join us at 7th DairyTech India 2017 from 28-30 August 2017 in Bangalore, India. The event will have its co-located shows, 9th AgriTech India and India Foodex as well as 6th International Poultry & Livestock Expo and 4th MeatTech Asia. This is the best place to become part of the emerging Indian Dairy Industry and promote its further commercialization.

Categories: Dairy Farming

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