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India’s milk crisis looming large

You might have to pay more for milk going by the figures. HT reports.

delhi Updated: Feb 28, 2011 01:56 IST

You might have to pay more for milk going by the figures. By 2021, India may have to import milk to meet a growing gap between demand and production potentially leading to global price hikes, if current trends continue.

Key investment measures focused on increasing milk productivity alone can keep even domestic prices stable, the Survey tabled in Parliament on Friday says, citing the recent spike in milk prices in India.

The country’s milk production — currently 112 million tonne — has been increasing steadily by about 3.5 million tonne a year, while the demand for milk in India is growing by about 6 million tonne a year, leading to an ever widening gap.

“With higher growth of the economy, increase in population and increased health consciousness among the populace, it is only natural that the demand for milk and milk products will increase,” the Survey’s chapter on agriculture and food management cautions.

India will need to increase milk production by about 5.5% per year to meet its requirement of 180 million tonne in 2021-22, projected under the National Dairy Plan. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/28_02_11_Metro11a.jpg

“If it fails to do so, India may need to resort to imports from the world market. A large consumer like India entering the international market would have the potential to cause international prices to spurt,” the Survey says.

The Survey identifies outdated marketing systems, ineffective breeding programmes, limited availability and affordability of quality feed and fodder, improper veterinary structure, lack of vaccinations, inadequate research, processing and transport facilities as key problems facing the sector.

In the back drop of such fears, experts feel the volume could rise substantially by exploiting ‘untapped’ potential in the eastern states of the country.