During the concluding session of the 49th Dairy Industries Conference in Gandhinagar, Indian Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah announced that India’s share in the global dairy sector is set to rise to 33% in the coming years. The minister revealed that the government is planning to establish 200,000 rural dairies at the Panchayat level nationwide, which would boost the annual growth rate of the Indian dairy sector from the current 6.6% to 13.8%.
Mr. Shah emphasized the role of cooperative milk federations in promoting rural economic development and women empowerment, noting that approximately 90 million rural families in India depend on the dairy sector for their livelihood. He expressed hope that the establishment of multistate cooperatives would boost India’s dairy exports by fivefold. The minister also highlighted India’s position as the world’s largest milk-producing country and noted that the country’s dairy sector represents a symbol of self-reliant India.
At the conference, Mr. Shah presented the Verghese Kurien award to dairy industrialists and leaders for their notable contributions. The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel, stated that the state government is encouraging value addition in the dairy sector and highlighted Gujarat’s annual milk product exports of over 12 billion rupees. The Secretary of the Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Dairy, Rajesh Kumar Singh, and Chairman of the Indian Dairy Association, RS Sodhi, were also present.
The three-day conference saw participation from numerous dairy industrialists, cattle-rearing farmers, and cooperative leaders.
There are several ideas that can be borrowed from this to improve the dairy sector in other countries. Some of these ideas include:
1. Emphasizing the importance of cooperative milk federations in promoting rural economic development and women empowerment: Indian Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah highlighted the role of cooperative milk federations in promoting rural economic development and women empowerment. According to him, nearly nine crore rural families in India are dependent on the dairy sector for their livelihood. The cooperative model has been successful in India and can be replicated in other countries as well. For example, Kenya’s dairy industry has benefited from the cooperative model, which has helped small-scale dairy farmers access credit and technical assistance, thereby increasing their productivity and income (source: UNDP).
2. Encouraging value addition in the dairy sector: Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel stated that the state government is encouraging value addition in the dairy sector. This is important because value addition can help increase the income of dairy farmers and create more job opportunities. Value addition can take many forms, including processing, packaging, and marketing of dairy products. For example, in Uganda, the Dairy Development Authority has been promoting value addition through the establishment of milk processing plants, which has helped increase farmers’ income and improve the quality of milk (source: FAO).
3. Establishing multistate cooperatives for the promotion of dairy products: Indian Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah expressed hope that the establishment of multistate cooperatives would boost India’s dairy exports by fivefold. This idea can be beneficial for other countries as well. For example, in Africa, the East African Dairy Development project has established a regional dairy industry platform to promote cross-border trade and investment in the dairy sector (source: World Bank).
4. Recognizing and rewarding notable contributions: Indian Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah presented the Verghese Kurien award to dairy industrialists and leaders for their notable contributions. This is important because it encourages innovation and excellence in the dairy sector. Other countries can adopt similar recognition and reward systems to encourage innovation and excellence. For example, in the United States, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has established an annual award program to recognize innovative dairy farms and businesses (source: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy).
Adopting these ideas can help other countries improve their dairy sectors and increase the income of dairy farmers. By promoting cooperative models, encouraging value addition, establishing multistate cooperatives, and recognizing and rewarding notable contributions, other countries can learn from India’s successes and make progress in their own dairy sectors.