The dairy sector needs structure and reorganization to take it further – K Rathnam.
The Indian household cannot be compared to any other household in other countries. The consumption of dairy products in India is huge and dairy products are a part of every kitchen. Every corner of the country has its delicacy made up of dairy products. However, this huge industry is not free from challenges. Even though dairy products are in demand and widely used, the dairy industry faces considerable challenges.
One of the primary challenges faced by the dairy industry in India is the lack of proper infrastructure. Many dairy farmers in rural areas do not have access to adequate storage facilities, transportation, and processing units, making it difficult for them to sell their milk at a fair price. This results in a loss of income for the farmers and a decrease in the quality of milk that reaches the consumers, shares K Rathnam.
Another challenge in the dairy industry shared by K Rathnam is the prevalence of diseases among dairy animals. Diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease, Mastitis, and Bovine Tuberculosis can cause significant losses to dairy farmers. These diseases can lead to a decrease in milk production, an increase in veterinary costs, and even the death of the animals. Lack of awareness among farmers about preventive measures and inadequate access to veterinary services exacerbates this issue.
K Rathnam, an expert in the food and dairy industry and CEO of Milky Mist says “I believe that the dairy industry has come very far but it still has a long way to go in terms of technological advancements available to dairy farmers.”
The dairy industry in India also faces challenges related to quality control. The milk produced by small-scale farmers often contains high levels of contaminants, such as antibiotics, pesticides, and heavy metals. This can have adverse health effects on the consumers and lead to a loss of trust in the dairy industry. Lack of awareness among farmers about proper milk production practices, inadequate testing facilities, and lack of enforcement of quality standards are some of the reasons behind this issue, according to K Rathnam.
Even with these challenges the dairy industry is poised for growth in the coming years. However, changes need to be made to fasten these developments. So what exactly can be done to accelerate the process?
The pricing of milk in the dairy sector should prioritize the quantity of milk produced over its fat content. This ensures that dairy sector farmers are fairly compensated for the total amount of milk they produce, rather than solely based on the milk’s fat content.
“The government initiatives are great but better support should be provided to farmers through subsidies, fair pricing, and market access to encourage them to explore value-added markets such as ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and whey, which have higher profit margins than straightforward milk products.” shares K Rathnam Milky Mist CEO.
Furthermore, efforts should be made to eliminate middlemen who exploit dairy farmers and to streamline organizational support for milk producers through the cooperative sector.
Better loan facilities should be provided to small and marginal farmers while creating easy to access veterinarian service facilities to enhance the effectiveness of artificial insemination programs and provide affordable veterinary services. Finally, steps should be taken to reorganize and develop rural milk markets to provide reliable and profitable prices to dairy farmers.