Sri Lanka takes AMUL’s help to become Self-Sufficient in Milk Production

The well-established and successful Amul model of dairy development through co-operatives is being exported to other countries across the world. A joint venture agreement has been signed between the National Dairy Development Board, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, and Cargills of Sri Lanka to make the latter self-sufficient in the dairy industry. Some of the dairy farms under the government-controlled MILCO and the brand Highland will come under the JV. The country produces about 40 percent of its total domestic demand and depends on imports for the remaining. The new JV Company will take up the task of making Sri Lanka self-sufficient in the dairy industry in one decade. The agreement was signed in the presence of the President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe and India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Sri Lanka had collaborated with NDDB in 1997-2000 and earlier this year the government again sought assistance from India through NDDB and AMUL to help it achieve its nutritional requirements and improve the livelihoods of smallholder dairy farmers.

A coalition of 17 organizations has urged the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying for immediate action on the critical issues engulfing the animal agriculture sector. The coalition has said that the G20 declaration has overlooked some challenges, which are instrumental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The declaration does not discuss the role of sustainable practices in economic stability and environmental sustainability, nor does it focus on financing sustainable agriculture and livestock-related projects within reforms in Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). Five key areas are environmental and public health issues, gender equality and inclusion, economic resilience and sustainability, transparent and sustainable supply chains, and conflicts and vulnerabilities.

The government should divert land under rice and wheat towards maize production to produce around 50 to 60 MMT, which will meet the needs of feed, food, ethanol, and export sectors. Recently Government announced they would procure maize, pulses, and oilseeds through NAFED. The government banned exports of broken rice and deoiled rice bran (DORB). Millets prices are higher than maize in the last few years, making it unviable to use in animal feeds. There is a need to increase the area and yield of all oilseeds as well. It will be a win-win situation. Our edible oil imports will go down if we produce more oilseeds. We can always export surplus oilseed meals. FSSAI directed all cattle feed millers in India to use Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) guidelines to control aflatoxin residues in milk and milk products. But penetration of cattle feeds is only 15%. How the government will control aflatoxin coming from green and dry fodders and concentrates fed directly to cattle in India? Fodder production and yield should go up in the coming years. Silage-making should be promoted. Dry fodder should be available at the right price throughout the year. There is a need for animal feed and fodder policy to secure feed and fodder availability to our livestock. Ration balancing should be promoted among farmers. Many startups are working in this area. There is a need to prepare a database of available feed resources. This information would be of immense use for policy-makers, government agencies, non-government organizations, intergovernmental agencies and development agencies, among others in formulating and implementing sustainable livestock development activities and in preparing and coping with climatic variations such as droughts, floods, severe winter weather events, and global climate change. There is a need to integrate a quality control system in feed analysis. NIR can play an important role in knowing the chemical composition of feed ingredients. Scientists and feed industries must ensure that quality control systems and good laboratory practices are used in feed analysis laboratories.

Area-specific mineral mixtures should be fed to our animals. A deficiency of minerals such as Co, Mo, Mg, Zn, Na, Cl, etc. could decrease rumen fermentation because these are vital for various activities of rumen microbes.

We should understand that animal diets have the same importance for animals as human diets have for humans. Animal nutrition must get due attention, especially at the policy level. Animal feeding will prove to be the foundation of efficient livestock production.

We also pay homage to Dr. M S Swaminathan who is known as the “Father of the Indian Green Revolution”. He revolutionized agriculture and animal husbandry sectors, contributed to research, mentored, and emphasized sustainable farming, leaving an enduring legacy in Indian agriculture.