Bangalore, Feb 17 (Calcutta Tube) India is set to face milk shortage soon due to rising consumption in both rural and urban areas while productivity remains low despite the country being the world’s largest producer, a top dairy official said Wednesday.
‘We will without doubt start facing milk shortage as demand is increasing at a much faster rate than production due to rising consumption in village households and demographic dividend in urban areas,’ National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) chairperson Amrita Patel told reporters here.
In addition to the rising GDP (gross domestic product) rate in a buoyant economy, increase in rural incomes through programmes like the MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) and the farm debt waiver as well as increase in government employees’ salaries from the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations are fuelling consumption of milk and milk products.
‘Resorting to imports to make up for a possible shortage is not a solution as such a move would spike international prices, resulting in higher import and, therefore, higher consumer prices,’ Patel said on the margins of a dairy conference.
Noting that international agencies have already projected that India may have to import milk products in the near future to meet its growing demand, Patel called upon the stakeholders, especially the central and state governments, to implement the national dairy plan drawn by the state-run NDDB for doubling annual growth production to five million tonnes from the current 2.5 million tonnes.
‘To meet the growing demand for milk, which is projected to be 180 million tonnes per annum by 2021-22 as against 105 million tonnes currently, the stakeholders have to unleash the second white revolution, as envisaged in the national dairy plan,’ Patel said. She earlier addressed about 1,000 delegates at the 38th diary industry conference, orgainised by the Indian Dairy Association (IDA).
According to the NDDB action plan, the central and state governments will have to invest a whopping Rs.17,000 crore (Rs.170 billion) over the next 15 years to double milk production through genetic improvement of milch animals and optimal use of feed and fodder.
‘We will have also to invest in increasing the market share of the organised sector — consisting of cooperatives and private players to 65 percent from the current 30 percent — to ensure food safety and provide a direct link to milk products for securing remunerative price for farmers,’ Patel noted.
Of the total milk produced, about 50 percent is at present being consumed by the village households, while the remaining 50 percent is considered marketable surplus. The organised sector accounts for about 30 percent of the marketable surplus.
‘The national dairy plan hopes to increase the share of the organised sector to 65 percent over the next five-10 years to ensure proper payment to producers and stimulate production,’ Patel pointed out.