Fodder Availability In 2022 Will Be Deciding Factor For The Growth Of The Dairy Sector

As per a CRISIL report, the dairy sector will bounce back in 2021-22 with a projected growth rate of over 5 percent, generating revenue of Rs.1.5-lakh crore. The productivity potential of the Indian milch herd is a major cause of concern.The major reasons are both intrinsic (low genetic potential) and extrinsic (poor nutrition/feed management). Empirical studies have shown that enhancing the quality and quantity of feed and fodder has a greater impact on increasing milk productivity than breed improvement. While the increase in agricultural production over time has also led to improvement in the availability of animal feed, its supply has always fallen short of the aggregate demand. As per the vision document of Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute (IGFRI), Jhansi, the deficit of dry and green fodder in India in 2020 was around 12 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

The demand for both green and dry fodder is expected to increase considerably to 1,012 million tonnes and 631 million tonnes, respectively, by 2050. The impact of climate change on the productivity and production of crops in India will be huge unless appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures are taken. As per a study conducted by NDRI, the wholesale price index of cattle feed rose much faster than that of milk after 2012. While at present availability of feed ingredients is not an issue, the high volatility in prices of the ingredients is a concern. Therefore firms, in order to maintain their profit margins, often resort to the substitution of feed ingredients at the expense of feed quality, which is the most important parameter that has far-reaching implications not only for the productivity of the animals but also for humans and livestock health. Additionally, limited storage capacity with firms, the poor quality judgment of feed among dairy farmers, and non-adherence to quality standards of feed bags (especially in the context of indicating Aflatoxin B1 content) have led to issues such as mycotoxins in cattle feed.

The Netherlands is exploring ways to deploy Dutch technologies to make India’s dairy space more productive and marketable. With an export value of nearly USD 6.4 billion (approx Rs 48,500 crore), the Netherlands is among the world’s major dairy exporters. It has one of the highest milk yields with 1.3 million tonnes of milk production from about 1.5 million cows. Dairy farmers use about 60 percent of the agricultural land in the Netherlands. This is in stark contrast to India, where the dairy sector supports about 70 million rural households – mostly small and marginal or landless farmers. The higher milk yield is related to better quality cattle feed – an area of innovation to achieve high productivity. There is a need for a cold chain to store, treat and transport milk and products in a good condition to sell and export.

Stellapps, a dairy tech start-up, has announced a 5-year partnership with Trouw Nutrition, the animal nutrition division of Nutreco, for distributing the latter’s feed products among its customer base. Stellapps has a reach of 2.8 million farmers across 36,000 villages. It is a farm-to-consumer dairy digitization service provider, improving productivity, quality and ensuring end-to-end traceability across the dairy supply chain.

Kerala government has begun initiatives to make available ample quantities of cattle feed for dairy farmers at affordable prices as part of its efforts to reduce the input cost in the dairy sector. The government is giving top priority to ensure remunerative prices to milk producers and ease the burden from the frequent increases in cattle feed prices in coordination with Milma and other dairy sector agencies. Milk cooperative societies will be encouraged to take up grass cultivation on lands available in their respective localities.

The demand for Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for milk is gaining momentum in Maharashtra. The State government is finding it difficult to intervene in the matter as the majority of the dairy sector is controlled by private players and the cooperatives have reported losses for the last two consecutive years. According to the Union government, about 74 percent of the sale price of milk is transferred to the farmers as a procurement price.

Dairy farmers all over India wait for December every year to visit PDFA Expo. Thousands of farmers and industry representatives visited this year to witness milking competition and showcasing of more than 200 companies. This expo boosted the confidence of dairy farmers and they are back to work on their farm with new energy.