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India’s Milky Way: From Deficit To Surplus, India’s Spectacular Milk Production Journey

New Delhi [India]: In India, milk is more than just a drink, a staple that never goes out of style. Consumed hot and cold and in all seasons. The country’s favourite refreshment and source of nourishment, milk is a dietary delight for Indians across the country.

From individuals producing their own milk to mega dairy cooperative brands catering to the calcium cravings of hundreds of millions of Indians, the Indian milk industry has emerged as ‘the biggest’ and ‘the best’ in the world.

CEO of Lakshya Food India LTD, Ankit Redhu, from Jind, has prioritised profitability and aims to create more job opportunities on the back of innovative methods used to enhance milk production in the country.

There are many individuals like him who have revolutionised the operational landscape of the Indian milk industry, leading to its current status as the best in the world. As per the sources, India’s milk production today surpasses that of the United States by 50 per cent and is three times greater than that of China.

Formerly a milk-deficient country that would produce a little over 55 million tonnes of milk during a fiscal year in the 90s, India is now home to 23 per cent of global milk production. Multiple factors including innovation, robust research, technological advancements and government support have enabled India to optimise its milk production.

Director of Sumul Dairy in Surat, Jayesh Patel, tells about the Journey of the Dairy which started with just 200 litres of milk and is now processing 22 lakh litres (2.2 million) of milk every day. “It has benefitted all, especially the tribal people and as many as 250,000 women who are associated with us. It is because of this that today we are able to supply milk from Kolhapur in Maharashtra and to Goa,” Patel said.

Surat-based Shakuntala Ben, a small dairy farmer is a living example of the empowerment of women in India’s dairy industry. Shakuntala, who has six cattle, has successfully established her business and is contributing to the larger picture of India’s milk industry.

The government, cooperative societies and milk processing units in the country are encouraging dairy farmers by providing easy loans, high milk-producing cow breeds and other technical assistance. As per the sources, India, which produced 116 million tonnes of milk just a decade ago, has almost doubled its production capacity, producing 221.1 million Tonnes of milk in 2021-22.

“If the dairy industry of any country is contributing this big to its GDP then it is the Indian dairy industry, which is contributing 10 lakh crore to India’s GDP. Dairy has contributed majorly to the Indian economy,” said Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

India, a country that produced 210 MT of milk in 2020-21 now has set its eyes on surpassing its own record by implementing the National Action Plan for Dairy Development.
The plan aims to achieve a milk production target of 300 million tonnes by 2023-24. It also aims to enhance the per capita milk availability from 444 grams per day in 2022 to 592 grams per day by 2023-24.

The action plan is the result of great government efforts coupled with the high ambitions of the individuals and industry players that have kept the Indian milk industry thriving. The milk consumption levels of the country have witnessed a substantial rise from 214 grams per day in 2000 to almost double to 427 grams per day.

The harmonious cooperation and healthy competition between various stakeholders along with effective policy formation at the centre has resulted in India achieving the current standing of ‘the best’ in the global dairy market.

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