The production incentives for boosting milk production may be given in the form of subsidized concentrate feeds, TMR, enriched wheat and paddy straw, mineral mixtures, supply of veterinary drugs, animal health insurance and uninterrupted supply of credit facility at low interest through Kisan credit cards.
Dairying is an important activity for Indian farmers to supplement their agricultural income. India accounts for nearly 30.5 per cent of the global bovine population. The country also tops in world milk output with an estimated 165.4 million tones milk production in 2016-17. Ironically, the lactation yield of Indian cows is about 1500 kg as against the world average of 2200 kg and much below the USA (9315 kg) and 10035 kg of Israel. Such a low yield in cows is mainly due to poor genetics, shortage of feeds and fodders and limited veterinary care. Maintenance of dairy animals is becoming quite expensive and uneconomical. At present, over 80 per cent of dairy animals are owned by 75 million small and marginal farmers. With two to three animals, farmers produce on an average five litres of milk daily embracing critical portion of dairy industry.
Milk components are the main source of high grade nutrients in the vegetarian diets. Milk supports the economic development of farm families and improves their quality of life. Dairying is at present facing numerous challenges like low prices of milk paid to farmers and accumulation of surplus milk solids due to prevailing low international prices for milk powders and butter. This is adversely impacting the welfare of hard working dairy farmers. Besides, low genetic potential of dairy animals, insufficient feed and fodder resources, shrinking land usages for fodder cultivation and deepening of water tables are affecting milk production.
High prices of compounded animal feeds, concentrates and oil cakes laden with high taxes on other inputs discourage farmers to feed their animals well the animals leading to low milk production. Slowly the milk producing capacity of the animals will get decreased in the absence of adequate supply of essential nutrients. Consequently, the health of animals will also get affected and the farmers will not be able to exploit the genetic potential of low-fed animals in future shattering our planning for increasing milk production.
Dairy development policies framed by the Animal Husbandry department must lay emphasis on “technology-driven dairying” rather than “animal population-driven dairying”. In view of the shortage of feed and fodders, there is a strong need for using modern technologies such as the use of sexed semen and artificial insemination techniques in the indigenous cattle and buffaloes to increase the number of elite females at farmers’ fields. Mass estrus synchronization using CIDR-GmRH protocol is a good initiative adopted by Bengaluru based dairy scientists and farmers. Technologies of multiple ovulation and embryo transfer should be promoted for faster multiplication of superior germ plasm.
The production incentives for boosting milk production may be given in the form of subsidized concentrate feeds, TMR, enriched wheat and paddy straw, mineral mixtures, supply of veterinary drugs, animal health insurance and uninterrupted supply of credit facility at low interest through Kisan credit cards. These concessions are expected to reduce the cost of milk production and increase the farmers' income.
Demand for milk and milk products is growing in the domestic as well as overseas markets of Asia, Latin America and African countries mainly triggered by increasing human population, higher disposable incomes and increased health awareness about the nutritional superiority of milk constituents. Although, India is the world’s largest milk producer and has the largest dairy herd, its share in global trade for milk and milk products is less than one per cent. There is a need for us to find out future opportunities in the world market considering the milk demand and supply in the above mentioned countries. Investments in such a market study will greatly benefit the potential dairy exporters and milk producers of India.
The recommendations that emerged during the 46th Dairy Industry Conference are being published in the current issue of Indian Dairyman. It is hoped that the worthy readers will find them useful for planning a robust dairy development in India.