T Nanda Kumar, former Union food and agriculture secretary, has taken over the chairmanship of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) from Amrita Patel, who held the post for 15 years. NDDB was set up in 1965 through an Act of Parliament for replicating the success of Amul in other parts of the country. Kumar spoke to Sandip Das on the issues faced by the dairy sector and the cooperatives in sustaining the country’s milk production.
What are the challenges faced by the dairy sector at present? What are the current trends and future prospects of the country’s milk production?
In 2012-13, we produced about 132 million tonnes of milk. Last fiscal, we had an output of 138 million tonnes. The output is expected to grow at this rate, which implies adding 6 million tonnes of extra milk production annually. The reason is that the demand for dairy products would continue to increase in next 5-6 years. We need to continuously increase milk production and it has to be sustainable. Processed dairy products will have bigger growth than processed milk as a liquid after about 5-6 years. I do not see the possibility of import of milk in the near future.
Sustaining the milk production growth in the country is a must. How do you plan to meet this challenge?
One of the key focus areas of our work is improvement in the genetic potential of animals. We intend to do it by a combination of factors—focusing on high genetic merit indigenous cattle, production of high genetic merit bulls, improving artificial insemination, etc. The major portion of our intervention will be on good indigenous breeds; also the need to get exotic breeds from outside, from certain specific areas. We will import high genetic merit bulls to an extent and see that the breed improves. This will be done by a clearly defined breeding policy of state governments.
What about improving the feed quality of the animals for augmenting milk production…
Traditionally, farmers feed animals agricultural waste and that is the way the sustainable economics work. We have found there are some ingredients that have to be supplemented in the cattle feed, which lead to increase in milk yield. We have initiated an IT-based Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH), developed in collaboration with Infosys. It covers areas such as productivity enhancement including animal registration and identification, artificial insemination, milk yield recording and rational balancing of