Remunerative prices for milk must be given together with maintenance of highly productive dairy animals having known economic traits. "Technology driven dairying” is a viable option as against "animal population driven dairying” in view of shrinking natural resources.
The 46th Dairy Industry Conference held between 8th and 10th February, 2018 was a great success. Members of the South Zone of IDA and its Kerala State Chapter did a marvelous job of meticulous planning and implementation. Each activity of the Conference was aptly monitored like a successful project. About 2200 participants fully enjoyed the technical, cultural and hospitality components of the Conference.
A large number of recommendations that emerged from the technical presentations and discussions shall be published in the forthcoming issue of Indian Dairyman. It came out that dairying shall continue to be an instrument of economic and social transformation of small and marginal farmers and landless labourers in almost 7.5 lakh villages spread across India in diverse agro-climatic zones. This is especially true of areas where crop cultivation is limited due to lack of irrigation facilities and low rains. Nutritional security of the growing human population has always been a prime objective of dairying starting from milk production, collection, processing and distribution. Traditional wisdom of value addition has also been used to manage excess produce and to assure higher returns to milk producers.
In order to keep farmers' interests intact in dairying, remunerative prices for milk must be given together with maintenance of highly productive dairy animals having known economic traits. “Technology driven dairying” is a viable option against “animal population driven dairying” in view of shrinking natural resources. For faster multiplication of superior germplasm, there is a strong need for promoting multiple ovulation and embryo transplant or in vitro embryo production using sexed semen obtainable from all recognized breeds. It will be useful to establish elite germ plasm supply centres. Gains in milk production should be achieved through higher output per animal or expanding herd size to match increasing demand for milk.
The time is ripe for not relying only on crop residue for feeding dairy animals but shift to production of high yielding fodder crops amenable to cut and carry system. Many safe and nutritious agro-industrial by-products, plantation crops and forest foliages can be easily fitted in animal feeding programmes for increasing milk production.
Dairy plants should adopt methods to minimize the costs of processing, packaging and marketing to make low cost milk and milk products available to the masses. It is recommended to use non-conventional energy sources at milk collection and chilling centres, adoption of cost effective technologies in processing plants, and least expensive packaging and innovative marketing strategies. Deployment of solar power to operate electronic milk testers and automated milk collection units will be necessary for ensuring effective, efficient and transparent operations of automatic milk handling system and would bring greater happiness to rural milk producers. Safe milk production principles and practices can be implemented through extensive training of farmers and providing incentives.
Since a huge volume of milk is contributed by small holders, remunerative prices and prompt payment should be assured to maintain a robust supply chain. For raising income of farmers, there is a need for removing GST from milk products as well as from input supplies in order to promote sales in the market place.
Animal health programmes should be expanded using preventive and curative measures involving ethnoveterinary practices to overcome the problem of veterinary drug residues in milk and milk products.
Adoption of validated rapid test methods are now available for checking adulteration for field application. Dairy operators should be trained at all levels to prevent spurious milk gaining entry into the dairy value chain
I hope the readers will enjoy going through the first volume of Conference events that appear in the current issue of Indian Dairyman.