Milk output projected to grow 6% annually, says Niti Aayog report

New Delhi, April 18: Milk production is projected to grow at 6 per cent annually as against the current annual growth rate of 5.3 per cent, according to recent data on milk output.

This is the observation of a research paper, which was recently brought out by government’s think tank Niti Aayog.

It further noted that with per capita milk intake already above the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) and population growth falling below 1 per cent, the domestic milk demand in future is likely to grow at a lower rate than that witnessed in the recent past.

In a working paper titled “India’s White Revolution: Achievements and the next phase”, authored by Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand, it said that growth in domestic demand is also likely to be lower than growth in production, which is quite robust.

“This will generate some surplus of milk over normal demand and supply. Dairy industry must (therefore) prepare for channelising some domestic production to overseas market. It is better if it is done after processing in various products rather than liquid milk alone. This will require some change in investment in dairy industry, including value chain. India can also tap some high-end markets if it can address milk quality and livestock health,” the paper said.

Export of dairy products necessitates India’s dairy to be globally competitive, it noted further, adding that “India’s dairy industry has been opposing any free trade agreement that involves liberalisation of trade (import) in dairy products. However, if we have to capture overseas markets for disposal of future surplus of milk in the country then we must be export competitive”.

“Being export competitive require higher competitiveness than competing with imports. A country cannot be export competitive if it is unable to compete with imports. This issue is crucial for future growth of dairy Industry in India,” the paper read further.

Usage of chemicals indiscriminately in commercial dairy is affecting quality of livestock and milk and also has implications for environment, it observed.

“Studies have shown that urine and dung of animals with chemicals affect soil microbes and greenhouse gas emissions. There is a need to monitor presence of antibiotics in the milk and check it appropriately,a the paper suggested.

It further noted that due to various phases of Operation Flood, India is now producing more milk than the RDA of 377 gram per person per day.

“The country has already emerged as the largest producer of milk in the world, with one fourth of global production. But India’s share in global export of dairy products is awfully low. World dairy export in year 2021 was valued at $63 billion whereas India’s export was only $392 million (0.62 per cent of world’s total). The goal and vision of dairy Industry for the next 25 years should be to make India largest exporter of dairy products. This is a tall order, but, looking at the past achievements of dairy sector, it looks attainable though challenging,” the paper said in conclusion.