Farming and Agriculture

Need for Agritech Interventions to boost the Indian Dairy Sector

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Guest Author: Jitesh Arora, Co Founder & CTO, Mooofarm

03 March 2023, New Delhi: The Indian Dairy industry accounts for 23% of the milk produced globally and has made considerable progress in the country since the ‘white revolution’. The share of organized milk is expected to grow to 50% by 2025. As of 2021, the per capita availability of milk in India is way above the world average. The industry has given a boost to employment, especially empowering women in rural areas who have been the backbone and majority workforce of the dairy sector in the country.

The basic goal of the Whitetech revolution is to successfully transfer technology to rural, agrarian communities and to promote their embrace of it. These digitally empowered dairy farmers would then be able to gain from the smart, integrated ecosystem by having access to AI practitioners, veterinarians, and dairy experts, who would then be able to provide them with useful feedback and services. As a result, the farmers will be able to make wise selections.

Being the single largest agricultural commodity in India, Diary contributes to 5% of the country’s economy. Over the past 5 years, the sector has grown at 6.4% (CAGR) and is an important means of livelihood, especially in rural areas. It not only provides families with a stable source of income but also fulfills the demand for the consumption of dairy products. It is indeed well understood that for the dairy sector to prosper it is important to maintain focus on improving the productivity of its key driver, the ‘cattle’, and strengthening the related primary processing activities. Yet, the industry struggles with many basic weaknesses that obstruct its vital growth.

Of the many, unproductivity continues to act as a major obstacle in the growth of the dairy sector. To raise healthy cattle the basic essential requirement is proper and nutritious feed. However, with rising input costs dairy farmers are unable to maintain the upkeep of cattle to the required standards that can fetch them good quality and quantity of milk. With an excessive number of unproductive cattle eating up on valuable good fodder combined with the lack of green grazing areas, the gap in the demand and supply of good quality feed/fodder has widened, i.e., to avail the most important input that directly impacts cattle health. Moreover, dairy farmers lack adequate knowledge/training when they need to take prompt action in maintaining good health for their cattle. Like providing proper hygienic shelters/sheds, ensuring not to expose the cattle to unsanitary climatic conditions or diseases, keeping milking yards clean, following the appropriate immunization schedule, and so forth. If left unaddressed, such practices can adversely impact the milk yield and also lead to a lack of effective breeding.

While on one hand, it is clear that the dairy business can yield profitable returns, on the other, lack of proper practices for holistic herd management and lack of access to capital to secure the basic inputs continue to act as the major roadblocks holding back critical growth. To break this condition, we have observed that with an increase in the private sector players (focused on making farmers profitable) and the launch of different programs by the government, a gear shift is evident. Embracing innovative scientific solutions to enhance cattle availability and productivity is important to the future of the farmers to become prosperous and self-reliant in the dairy business.

With the growing momentum to advance the dairy sector, it is quintessential that the industry stakeholders orient their strategic vision towards a “value add” approach throughout the dairy ecosystem. To achieve this, all the key stakeholders in the industry must align efforts for creating stronger innovative “technological interventions” at every step of the supply chain to fulfill and drive dairy demand, propelling the agri-dairy industry to recourse towards the much-awaited “white-tech revolution”.

Also Read: Concern over Wheat production due to the ongoing heatwave

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