November 15, 2023
India contends with challenges to expand dairy sector
India's Animal Husbandry, Fishery and Dairying Ministry estimated that the country's dairy sector is likely to grow at 7% in the current fiscal year (against over 6% in 2022-23).
Additionally, the Indian government is promoting the production of milk through several programmes like artificial insemination, in vitro fertilisation, sex-sorted semen technology and vaccination. While milk prices have risen, there is no shortage of milk and milk products. The government attempts to deal with high prices by increasing milk production.
The per capita availability of milk increased to 449 grams in 2022 from 303 grams in 2014. Currently, less than 35% of total milk production is collected for processing by dairy cooperatives and private dairies.
To expand India's milk production, it had been proposed that women should be provided easy access to loans and market access to set up ventures in the dairy sector. That said, women have an over 70% participation rate in the Indian dairy sector.
When it comes to feeding animals, India would need enough feed and fodder to feed 100 million buffaloes and 200 million cows. Every cow/buffalo needs 10kg of green fodder/silage and 4-5kg of dry fodder per day. Sufficient land should also be diverted to produce fodders for animals.
Acknowledging the need for increased availability of feed and fodder (for which milk producers spend about 70% of the production cost), the National Dairy Development Board has taken major initiatives like the promotion of certified fodder seeds under the National Livestock Mission.
A solution for the mid or long-term is improving animal productivity through better breeding and feeding practices.
Meanwhile, India has banned the export of de-oiled rice bran till November 30, which will help to reduce compound cattle feed prices.
Lumpy skin disease in India
Last year, the outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) in the north and west region of India affected milk production for almost six months. The outbreak had led to huge economic losses for dairy farmers.
To deal with this challenge, animal husbandry departments, with the help of other government extension agencies, have educated farmers to vaccinate healthy animals.
As a result, morbidity and mortality are sporadic and not so significant in 2023.
The Indian Veterinary Research Institute also developed indigenous vaccine Lumpi-ProVac for combating LSD. The goat pox vaccine is also used for controlling LSD in animals.
- Dr. Dinesh Bhosale, eFeedLink