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A second White Revolution for India?

Apr 16, 2012

The World Bank signs an agreement with India to inject $ 352 million into the National Dairy Support Project, an initiative designed to revive the flagging fortunes of milk production in the country.

Other than being crucial to the nutritional security of the country’s population; dairy farming or dairying is also a major source of livelihood for 147 million rural households in India.

Spurred by the success of the White Revolution of the 1970s, milk and other dairy-products related production grew drastically over decades in the country. But of late, there has been a marked drop, with annual production decreasing to 3.8 per cent in the 2000s from 4.3 per cent in the 1990s. The Government’s latest initiative with the World Bank is meant to remedy this drop in production in anticipation of expected increase in demand.

India currently produces 120 million tons of milk per annum. By 2021-22, the demand is expected to be for 180 million tons, according to government estimates. This implies that for the next ten years from now, production would have to grow at 5.5 per cent year on year. To achieve this India would have to primarily find ways of boosting the productivity of its milk animals from a daily average of 3.4 kgs to 6.3 kgs, which is the global standard. 

 “To meet the growing demand and accelerate dairy development in the country, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has prepared a National Dairy Plan (NDP) aimed at improving animal productivity, strengthen/expand infrastructure for milk procurement at the village level and enhance milk processing capacity,” said Mr Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary in the government’s Department of Economic Affairs.

The World Bank funds will help the National Dairy Support Project operationalize the first phase of the NDP’s work aimed at enhancing animal productivity and improving the access of farmers to organized milk marketing channels. “The Project will cover some 40,000 villages across 14 major dairying states and is expected to directly benefit around 1.7 million rural milk producing households,” Rajamony said.

The project will primarily focus on increasing milk production by improving the genetic quality of dairy herd and optimal use of feed and fodder. It will support long-term investments in animal breeding, extensive training of dairy farmers and doorstep delivery of artificial insemination. It will also aim at creating ration balancing advisory services, which will promote balanced animal feed and nutrition to not only increase milk yield and reduce productions costs, but also contribute to reduced methane emissions.

“The Project will provide an opportunity for the World Bank to re-engage at a national scale in further development of the Indian dairy sector with potentially significant benefits for large numbers of dairy producers,” said Mr. Roberto Zagha, World Bank Country Director for India. “Following the 2008 food crisis there is renewed emphasis, globally as well as in India, on improving agricultural productivity to combat increasing food prices and improve food security. The Project is expected to help increase domestic milk supply through investments designed to improve productivity of milk animals.”

“Such investments are designed to strengthen the negotiating power of dairy farmers and reduce transaction costs for such a highly perishable commodity. The project will also raise farmers’ awareness about the importance of good quality milk and build their capacity for hygienic milk production, collection and sale,” said Deepak Ahluwalia, the Project’s Task Team Leader and Senior Economist, World Bank. 


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