No room for complacency in dairy sector

Parveen Arora in Karnal

With 6.3 per cent annual growth and over 175 million tonnes of milk production, India is on top in the world in the dairy sector. However, considering the growing demand of an ever-increasing population, the sector has to raise this growth rate further, besides overcoming challenges such as less availability of good germplasm, shrinking resources for green fodder, inadequate processing of milk, milk adulteration, poor extension services, low level of value addition in milk, and climate change, which are hampering the development of the sector across the country.

The demand for milk is expected to grow steadily over the next two decades. According to the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), it is likely to reach 200-210 million tonnes by 2021-22.

Farmers are rearing Murrah buffalo and cross-bred cattle for high yield of milk, but ignoring indigenous cattle such as Hariana, Gir, Sahiwal, Tharparkar and others which are on the verge of extinction. Around 51 per cent of milk production is from buffalo, 45 per cent from cattle and 4 per cent from goat and sheep in the country.

Scientists at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) are focusing on tackling these challenges. Shifted to Karnal in 1955, the NDRI was accorded the status of a deemed university in 1989. It gave the first cloned buffalo to the world and established that cloned animals can reproduce normally. The male clone is giving good quality germplasm, while the female gave birth to a calf. 

In view of the rampant milk adulteration, the microbiology and biotechnology divisions of the NDRI have come up with several kits to detect maltodextrin, hydrogen peroxide, glucose, neutralisers, added urea, sucrose, salt, pesticide residue, antibiotic residue etc. It has also developed DNA-based methods to identify cow and buffalo milk. Methods have also been developed to detect the presence of disease-causing micro-organisms in milk.

Dr RRB Singh, Director, NDRI, stated that during the past six-years (2012-18), the institute had developed more than 100 technologies and commercialised around 80 technologies to 51 entrepreneurs and industry houses, generating a revenue of Rs 200.80 lakh. Besides, it has filed 48 patents, of which 17 have been granted.

Dr Bimlesh Mann, Joint Director, (Research), NDRI, said around 20 per cent of the total milk production was processed in the organised sector. “To bring raw milk into the processing channel is a big challenge for the dairy sector. Our dairy technology division is working in the field of value-added milk products,” she said.

The NDRI is also providing quality testing service to the dairy industry and has established a modern national referral centre for milk quality and safety, which has been accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), said Dr Rajan Sharma, Principal Scientist, dairy chemistry.

Milk production             Million tonnes (2016-17)

Uttar Pradesh           27.7

Rajasthan          20.8

Madhya Pradesh 13.4

Gujarat                  12.7

Andhra Pradesh 12.2

Punjab                 11.3

Maharashtra         10.4

Haryana                   8.9

NDRI’s Major goals for next 5 years

  • Genetic improvement of dairy animals through genomic selection strategies, faster multiplication of germplasm, semen sexing and strengthening of dairy institute’s bull mother farm to meet the demand of quality germplasm of Haryana as well as the country.
  • Technologies for economic production of nutrient-balanced ration for dairy animals to address the issue of feed and fodder scarcity.
  • Development of new-generation methods to assess quality and safety of milk and milk products.
  • Development and validation of health-promoting dairy foods to address nutritional and health security issues.
  • Linking rural youth, women and other target groups to markets through skill and entrepreneurship development programmes.
  • Strengthening outreach programmes for doubling farmers’ income.

Dairy dossier

India has been the top milk-producing nation in the world since 1998. It also has the largest bovine population.

Year Milk production in India Per capita availability

2016-17 165.4 million tonnes 352 gm per day

2017-18 176.4 million tonnes 374 gm per day

Globally, milk production was 811.9 million tonnes in 2017, while the estimated average consumption was 294 gm/day.

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