Many lobbies around world discourage milk consumption alleging without any convincing proof that it might promote certain ailments. In fact unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, use of tobacco and alcohol are the major cause of many diseases. I urge upon the readers to celebrate milk day in true spirits to derive and promote maximum nutritional benefits from milk and milk products for all times to come.
T he Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations initiated the celebration of 1st World Milk Day in the year 2001 to recognize the contributions of the dairy sector to sustainability, economic development and livelihoods of dairy farmers and to encourage the consumption of milk and milk products for a healthy life across the globe. Milk with its multiple constituents and manifold nutritional benefits serves as a building block for growth and development of human body. Milk is characterized as a nearly perfect food. The dairy sector supports the livelihoods of about one billion people worldwide!
Last year, World Milk Day was celebrated in 80 countries with 588 events. The Day started with the dairy farmers raising their glass of milk at sunrise. Milk and other dairy products were distributed to farmers, staff, families, chefs, nutritionists, doctors, students, academicians and politicians. This celebration was organized by dairy farmers, cooperatives, national dairy associations, schools, nutrition groups, dairy companies, and thousands of families and citizens.
We earnestly hope that all of you shall participate in the World Milk Day celebrations on 1 June 2018 by raising your glasses full of milk and host some good events such as open house discussions at dairy farms, milk donations to school children and NGOs, photo contests, sports competitions, fairs, dance shows, nutrition seminars, product sensory evaluation sessions, exhibitions, food carts, and milk bars or administer knowledge sharing on social media.
For the past 6 years the IDA, and its zones and chapters, dairy plants and dairy colleges have been organizing the World Milk Day celebrations to reiterate the goodness of milk – the most nutritious of super foods – through a gamut of activities connected with dairy sector.
Milk is universally acknowledged as a rich source of healthy nutrients. Nature has packed milk with good proteins, healthy lipids, minerals like calcium; magnesium; zinc; phosphorus; iodine; potassium; vitamins A,D,E and K; riboflavin; thiamine; vitamin B12; protein and lactose. Milk proteins made up of several essential amino acids are needed to build and repair the muscle tissue and support all the hormonal and metabolic functions. An increased milk intake would boost formation of body mass, immune system and bone density. Extremely high value is attached to milk fat because of its dense energy source, supplier of essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins and its role in anti-oxidative properties. Milk fat adds flavor and high satiety value to food. Milk fat supports the growth of gut bacteria considered useful for digestion and assimilation of food nutrients. It is also regarded as a pre-biotic to prevent food allergies.
World Milk Day has greatly benefitted the populations across the globe by disseminating knowledge about the nutritional attributes of milk.
The world milk production today stands at 826 million metric tonnes increasing by about 2% annually. Approximately 150 million households around the globe are engaged in milk production. In India and most developing countries, milk is produced by marginal farmers and smallholders, and landless labour and milk production contributes to household livelihoods, reduction in poverty, food security and nutrition. The milk business also provides relatively quick returns for small-scale producers and serves as an important source of daily income.
The ever-increasing global human population shall pose a challenge for sustained and economic milk production. Its production needs to increase to 900 million tonnes by 2025 if we are to meet the demands of the forecasted 7.8 billion people. It is a matter of pride that India is the world's largest milk producer, with 18 percent of global production. Most of the expansion in global milk production has been in South Asia – the main driver of growth. Milk production in our country is 165.4 million tonnes and we are planning to raise it to 200 million tonnes by 2022. The per capita availability of milk in India is 355 gram per day which surpasses the world average.
It is encouraging to note that in recent decades, developing countries have increased their share in global dairy production. However, this growth is mostly due to increase in number of animals rather than improvement in productivity per head. Dairy development plans and programmes must ensure greater productivity per animal and factors such as poor-quality feed resources, prevalence of diseases, limited access to markets and services, and low genetic potential of dairy animals need to be addressed on priority.
Spurred by rising incomes, a growing population and changing food preferences in the country, the demand for milk and milk products will grow to about 210 million tonnes by 2022 – a rise of 36% over five years – according to government estimates. To meet this demand, production must grow by 5.5% per annum, according to the State of India’s Livelihood (SOIL) Report. In 2014-15 and 2015-16, milk production grew at 6.2% and 6.3%, respectively.
It will not be out of place to say that many lobbies around world discourage milk consumption alleging without any convincing proof that it might promote certain ailments. In fact unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, use of tobacco and alcohol are the major cause of many diseases. Many myths about milk should be dispelled with immediately. One such controversy is about A1 and A2 milks. People in the US and Europe have been consuming predominantly A1 milk for centuries, just as we in India have been drinking crossbred cow milk for over 50 years without any adverse health effects.
I urge upon the readers to celebrate milk day in true spirits to derive and promote maximum nutritional benefits from milk and milk products for all times to come. Happy World Milk Day!