India produces 13.1% of the total milk produced in the world, says Agriculture Minister

Speaking at the convocation ceremony of the Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (LUVAS), the union minister of agriculture, Mr Radha Mohan Singh stated that the last few decades saw the emergence of Indian livestock sector as one of the fastest growing sub-sectors of agriculture

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The Governor of Punjab and Haryana and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Prof. Kaptan Singh Solanki, the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh and other dignitaries at the First Convocation at Lala Lajpat Rai Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, in Hisar, Haryana on January 28, 2016.

“As per the 19th All India Livestock Census, total livestock population in the country in 2012 was over 512 million, largest in the world, despite decline of 3.33 per cent over 2007. In addition to this, poultry birds and fish further appreciate the wealth we have,” mentioned Mr Radha Mohan Singh, the union agriculture minister while speaking recently

The minister further elaborated, “Livestock as source of draught power has declined considerably due to mechanization of agricultural operations and declining farm size. Their importance as a source of quality food has increased due to sustained income and economic growth, a fast growing urban population, burgeoning middle class, changing lifestyles, increasing proportion of women in workforce, improvements in transportation and storage practices and upcoming supermarkets, especially in urban areas.”

The Government of Haryana recently passed the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act 20, 2015 in which it is stated that the government shall establish laboratories for differentiation of beef from that of the meat of other species of animals, testing and identification of various constituents of milk and milk products and testing and differentiation of A1 and A2 milk for providing incentives for wholesome production of milk and milk products. I am delighted to know that LUVAS has already taken the lead role in differentiating cow meat from buffalo meat besides testing milk and milk products.

India is the largest producer of milk in the world. India produces 13.1% of the total milk produced in the world. Per capita milk availability is 252g per day lower than world average of 265g. India stands 5th in egg production, 18th in broiler. The growth rate for poultry sector is 8-10% p.a. The demand for milk and milk products is projected to increase to 142 million tonnes, consumption of eggs is expected to increase to more than 81 billion, 10.9 million tonnes of meat and 11 million tonnes of fish by 2020-21.  The milk production in Haryana in 2014-15 has touched 79.01 lacs million tonnes making per capita availability of 805 gm second highest in India. But, the livestock sector faces many challenges like low productivity, inadequate feed and fodder availability, prevalence of animal diseases, climate change, degradation of natural resources, knowledge gap, inadequate infrastructure for marketing and processing of value added products, issues relating to bio-security and sustainability. In order to address these major challenges, the Central Government has framed National Livestock Policy in the year 2013. The primary focus of the policy is to increase livestock productivity and production in a sustainable manner, while protecting the environment, preserving animal bio-diversity, ensuring bio-security and farmers livelihood.

LUVAS has signed eight MoUs with National and International public and private institutions during the period 2011-14 and hope the MoUs would be functional and yield productive results. Signing of MoU with world class Pirbright Institute, U.K. is testimony of LUVAS’s excellence in scientific capabilities and is first of its kind.  The commercialization of technologies for their faster transfer to the stake-holders and also to realize return on investments has become part of technology transfer pursuits. I have been told that LUVAS has also established “Business Planning & Development Unit and IPR Cell” for patenting and licensing of technologies which will help not only the farmers of Haryana but of other states as well.

Inter-institutional networking and partnering with rural people is of immense value to take the benefits of policy and developmental programmes to people. In this context, I recall the words of the Milkman of India, Dr Kurien, “India’s Place, in the sun, would come from the partnership between wisdom of its rural people and skill of its professionals.”