India Should Focus on Fodder Security to Control Milk Inflation

The issue of depletion of soil health is a problem created by industrial animal agriculture. Industrial animal agriculture and global overconsumption of meat, particularly in developed countries, will fail to address climate change, the collapse of nature, and the decline of soil. Soil’s importance is that it provides 95 percent of food in the world. It also stops rainwater from simply running back into our rivers and out to sea. Soil also holds an enormous amount of carbon – nearly twice as much carbon as is in the atmosphere. In India, we need feeds and fodders to feed 10 crores of buffaloes and 20 crores of cows. Every cow/buffalo needs 10 kg green fodder/silage and 4-5 kg dry fodder per day. We also need to feed 300 to 500 gm of cattle feed or concentrates per liter of milk produced. Enough land should be diverted to produce fodders for our animals. Ethanol from grains will make DDGS available for feeding our animals in the coming years. An increase in input prices will cause milk inflation. Reserve Bank of India is keeping an eye on milk prices and is discussing various ways to curb it. The midterm/long-term solution is to improve animal productivity through better breeding and feeding practices.

Mr. Meenesh Shah, Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), was conferred with an honorary degree by Kamdhenu University, known for excellence in the fields of veterinary, dairy, and fisheries. Shah’s career at NDDB spans over 37 years. He has been instrumental in conceptualizing, planning, and implementing of several interventions in dairy and allied sectors and more importantly enhancing the income of small and marginal dairy farmers. Mr. Shah is a Dairy Technologist and holds a postgraduate diploma in Rural Management from IRMA.

Dairy technology provider Stellapps’ fintech arm mooPay, in partnership with IBISA Network, HDFC ERGO, and Gramcover, has launched a unique heat Index-based insurance plan for farmers. The cover provides financial compensation to farmers to offset income loss due to a fall in milk productivity during heat waves in summer. The cover guarantees insurance benefits for farmers if, over 60 days starting from May 1, temperatures exceed the specified limits for a predetermined number of days, with region-specific parameters. The claim settlement process is simple and hassle-free. The insurer takes the data of temperature trends for the insured period from a pre-agreed public database and compensates the claimant as per the prescribed benefits slab. Each insured cattle is eligible for a cover of a maximum of ₹2,000. Currently, the insurance cover extends to one cattle per household. This innovative financial product can potentially help more than 80 million dairy farming families who depend on the income from approximately 300 million cattle. This is a commendable step towards mitigating the impact of climate change on farmers. This plan will provide them with financial support, promote resilience, and foster long-term agricultural sustainability.”

Chairman of Milma said that milk federations in India should re-dedicate themselves to the founding ideals of the cooperative dairy movement that envisioned each State striving its best to build a robust and strife-free dairy sector while refraining from the inter-State competition. This was a path-breaking initiative, backed by goals such as higher milk production and a stronger generation of employment. The bottom line was to end malnutrition. Dairy farmers in Kerala have deep anxieties about the recent influx of milk from other states. Adding to their worries, vested interests have started spreading rumors that the price of milk sold by other States is less compared to that of Milma.

In Tamil Nadu, Aavin co-operative has 9,673 Milk Producers and Co-operative Societies which are procuring 35 lakh liters of milk daily from about 4.5 lakh members. Under this arrangement, the milk producers are assured of remunerative and uniform prices throughout the year by the cooperative societies. It also ensures the supply of quality milk and milk products to consumers at the lowest price. Recently AMUL also started procurement in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The Uttar Pradesh government has roped in NDDB Dairy Services for providing technical support for managing three women-owned milk producer companies — Saamarthya Milk Producer Company (Raebareli), Shri Baba GorakhnathKripaa Milk Producer Company (Gorakhpur) and Srijanee Milk Producer Company (Bareilly) — set up in the State. These FPOs will together procure milk from over 2,800 villages of 17 districts enrolling 1.50 lakh women dairy farmers. The daily procurement will reach seven lakh litres by the fifth year of operations. UP State Rural Livelihood Mission (UPSRLM) is the implementing agency for this dairy farmers’ project. Uttar Pradesh is the second-largest milk-producing State in the country. However, it still has a large untapped potential.