The country does not know how much milk is needed despite its growth having exceeded targets
The Union government has asked the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to conduct a study to assess the true scale of demand for milk in India.
“We have asked NDDB to estimate the present demand for milk and milk products and its forecast in India, as per the National Dairy Plan Phase I,” Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh, told Parliament in a written reply.
According to the national plan, the milk sector must grow annually by an average 4.2 per cent. But in the last two years, the growth registered has been much more. India also plans to take its milk production to 240 million metric tonnes (MMT) by 2025. Despite the surplus growth of the last two years, this target looks hard to achieve.
When contacted by Down To Earth, the NDDB said it had started work on the lines suggested by the ministry. “It is true that we have never estimated the exact demand for milk. After getting the missive from the government, we have started our study to assess it,” said Sangram Singh, executive director, NDDB.
India’s milk production increased from 165.40 MMT in 2016-17 to 176.35 MMT in 2017-18, a growth rate of 6.62 per cent. The country ranks first in global milk production.
As per the ‘Food Outlook, 2018’ published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, world milk production increased from 800.2 MMT in 2016 to 811.9 MMT in 2017, a growth rate of 1.46 per cent.
The per capita availability of milk in India during 2017-18 was 375 gm/day and by 2023-24, it is estimated to increase to 592 gm/day.
Livestock economy is important for India, sustainting 73 million rural households in it. In 2014-15, India’s milk economy surpassed the crop economy, registering vibrant growth.
The share of livestock has been gradually rising and at the same time, the share of crops has declined in gross value added (GVA) to agriculture. The Economic Survey of India 2018 report shows that the share of crops declined to 60 per cent in 2015-16, from 65 per cent in 2011-12. In the same period, the share of livestock increased from 22 per cent to 26 per cent.
According to latest report of the Central Statistics Office, livestock value output is Rs 917,910 crore at current prices in 2016-17. Milk constitutes 67 per cent of the total value or Rs 614,387 crore. The contribution of cattle milk is less than 50 per cent of the total milk produced in India.
The value of milk is just below that of foodgrain. The value of foodgrain (cereals and pulses) at current prices in 2016-17 was Rs 652,787 crore. In the year 2014-15, the output value of milk surpassed the value of food grains.
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