New Delhi: Dairy, like all other food products, needs to be processed.
But in India, a nation of 2.3 billion people, the dairy sector accounts for only around 3% of the country’s gross domestic product.
Dairies, which are also called cow-dairies or cattle-dairy, account for about 75% of India’s milk consumption.
The Indian Dairy Regulatory Board (IDRB) says its objective is to ensure quality milk.
So why has it taken so long for the industry to change?
The reasons are complex.
For one, many of the dairy farmers who are farmers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh are farmers themselves.
They are in rural areas and know that a milking machine costs around $500 to $700.
The machines are used mainly by the poor farmers who don’t have access to electricity and don’t buy milk at the local market.
This, together with the fact that cows, who are mainly used for milk, are a mainstay of rural India, means that the dairy industry is not very well integrated in the farming community.
Another major reason for the delay in change is that the IDRB is a part of the Union Cabinet.
“The farmers are not very vocal about their concerns.
Therefore, there is not much support from the government for the changes that are being proposed,” said B.K. Singh, a dairy farmer from Haryana state.
In fact, even if the IDRB were to enact some changes, there was little enthusiasm for them among farmers.
One reason may be that the issue has received so little attention in the country, Singh added.
There are also other factors that have kept the industry in a state of flux.
Since the inception of the state’s dairy industry, the country has seen a boom in the dairy production.
But the number of dairy farmers in India has been declining.
In 2014, there were about 17.5 million dairy farmers, down from 19.5-million in 2006.
And since 2008, when the government introduced the GST on milk, the number has steadily declined.
And this is where the milk market in India comes in.
The IDRRB, with the support of the Centre, is trying to introduce the National Milk Price Guarantee Act (NMPGGA), which would provide the government with a guarantee for a certain price for milk.
The act is expected to help the industry by keeping prices competitive and giving farmers a stake in the price of milk, said Pratish Kumar, a farmer from Kashi in Uttar Pradesh.
Even though the bill is in the process of being passed by Parliament, there are still concerns among farmers and legislators about the bill’s implementation.
First Published: Nov 03, 2020 08:35:02 IST