Gandhinagar: Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that India must not be satisfied by becoming the world's largest milk producer, but must also aim to become the biggest dairy exporter.
Shah also reiterated the central government's commitment to strengthening the cooperative model. The Union Minister was speaking at the Indian Dairy Summit, organised on the third and final day of the Indian Dairy Association's (IDA) 49th Dairy Industry Conference in Gandhinagar.
The theme of the conference was "India Dairy to the world: Opportunities & Challenges". "Our milk processing capacity is around 126 million litres per day, which is the highest in the world. From 1970 to 2022, India's population has increased fourfold, but milk production has increased by ten times," Shah said. "We should not be satisfied by being the world's largest milk producer. We must also strive to become the world's biggest dairy exporter. A second White Revolution is needed and we are working in that direction. The Narendra Modi government will not let any opportunity go to waste," the country's first cooperation minister said.
"The Indian dairy sector has grown by 6.6 per cent per year in the past decade. The Central government is setting up 2 lakh dairy cooperatives in villages, and once that happens, the dairy sector's growth will go up to 13.80 per cent. India's share of global milk production will be 33 per cent. Our dairy exports will be at least five times the current level," said Shah. The union minister noted that dairy is a vocation for the world, but in India, where 9 crore families are directly connected with dairying, it is also a source of livelihood, strengthening the rural economy, addressing nutritional challenges, and women empowerment.
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel also addressed the occassion and said, "Small dairy farmers are the real strength of the Indian dairy sector. Gujarat has been a model of overall development and is also a leader in the dairy industry with a 20 per cent share in the country's milk production. Dairy farmers must look for value addition, and focus on the quality of milk and milk products for sustainable growth."
Taking place in Gujarat after 27 years, the 49th Dairy Industry Conference brought together dairy experts and professionals from India and overseas, dairy cooperatives, milk producers, government officials, scientists, policymakers, planners, academicians and other stakeholders.
Prestigious awards including the Dr Kurien Award, IDA Patron Award, and IDA Fellowship Awards, were also conferred on the occasion.
In his welcome address, President of the Indian Dairy Association RS Sodhi said, "The Indian dairy industry has achieved phenomenal growth because of determined efforts to become atma nirbhar in milk, strong supply chain managed by farmers, and investments in infrastructure. We must make efforts to ensure our products are accepted in overseas markets and we are exporting 20 per cent of our production."
"India must take leadership and take its cooperative model to neighbouring countries. We have already started talks with Sri Lanka to help it become self-reliant. We are also talking with Nepal and Kenya to help their dairy farmers by implementing our learnings," Meenesh Shah, Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), said.
In his address, Piercristiano Brazzale, President of the International Dairy Federation, said that global leaders must take note of India's success in the dairy sector and support their dairy farmers with the right policies. He also said that IDF is keen to support the Indian dairy sector meet various challenges.
Rajesh Kumar Singh, Secretary of the Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department, spoke about the initiatives of the central government to improve the health of livestock and enhance their productivity.
State Cooperation Minister Jagdish Vishwakarma, IDF Director General Caroline Emond, and chairmen of various dairy cooperatives were also present at the Indian Dairy Summit.
Amul Dairy MD Amit Vyas presented the vote of thanks at the Indian Dairy Summit.
The Dairy Industry Conference brought together industry professionals to discuss global dairy trends, farm innovations, sustainability within the sector, climate change, nutrition, and health with the objective of making India a hub of dairy innovations and solutions. The latest technologies in milk production, storage, processing, and packaging solutions were also displayed during the three-day expo.