The government on Thursday said the country's dairy sector, which was facing headwinds before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been able to turn the crisis into an opportunity as the supply and consumption of milk has risen, helping 1.7 crore farmers.
Addressing a webinar organised by FICCI, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Secretary Atul Chaturvedi said, "There was an improvement in supply of milk substantially by cooperatives and the average liquid milk consumption.... was higher during the period."
The average procurement price of milk also increased, which helped 1.7 crore farmers, a statement quoted Chaturvedi as saying.
Stating that India's dairy industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, Chaturvedi said the government has set a goal to double the sector's processing capacity from 53.5 million tonnes to 108 million tonnes by 2025.
The government, in its roadmap for 2025 for the dairy sector, also aims to increase value-added products from 23 per cent to 40 per cent and India's exports share in the world from 0.36 per cent to 10 per cent, he added.
Chaturvedi said the Indian dairy sector is a Rs 10 lakh crore industry with significant growth potential and investment opportunities for the private sector.
Former Food Processing Secretary Siraj Hussain said the share of eastern India in milk processing is very less and urged the government to look at ways to correct this situation.
Hussain also pointed out the urgent need to spread awareness about the use of processed milk. Owing to several myths related to the use of processed milk, there is no demand for it in certain parts of the country, leading to closure of private dairies, he said.
Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) Managing Director R S Sodhi said the dairy sector is all set to move to the next level by improvement in productivity, building brand India in milk segment, product innovation and increasing penetration of the organised segment.
He added that efforts should be made so that dairy can become an attractive profession for future generations.
Cargill India Commercial Director-Dairy Feed Business Prashant Shinde said for growth of milk output, it is important to ensure availability of feed and fodder, promote use of compound cattle feed and educate farmers on good dairy practices.