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1st phase of National Dairy Plan launched; aims at increased milk production
Saturday, 21 April, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Sharad Pawar, union minister of agriculture and food processing industries, launched the first phase of the National Dairy Plan (NDP-I), a Central Sector Scheme, on Thursday, at the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) headquarters in Anand. Narendra Modi, chief minister, Gujarat, was the chief guest. The outlay of the project is estimated to be about Rs 2,242 crore.

Present on the occasion were Charan Das Mahant, minister of state for agriculture and food processing industries; Rudhra Gangadharan, secretary, department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries, Government of India, and Amrita Patel, chairperson, NDDB. The animal husbandry and dairying ministers and secretaries of the major milk-producing states were also present.

Speaking on the occasion, the NDDB chairperson said, "It is indeed an honour that the agriculture minister has chosen to launch the NDP from Anand, the cradle of our country's milk revolution and (the place) where the first seeds of co-operation in dairying were sown 65 years ago."

It is a six-year plan to be implemented in the 14 major milk producing states, namely Andhra Pradesh; Bihar; Gujarat; Haryana; Karnataka; Kerala; Madhya Pradesh; Maharashtra; Odisha; Punjab; Rajasthan; Tamil Nadu; Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The scheme will be largely financed through the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, and implemented by NDDB through end implementing agencies located in the states.

The objective of the NDP is to increase productivity of milch animals and thereby milk production to meet the rapidly growing demand for milk in the country through a scientifically planned multi-state initiative. The Plan will also provide India's 70 million small-holder rural milk producers with greater access to the organised milk-processing sector.

The demand for milk is projected to be around 200 million tonnes in 2021-22 as against the production of 122.8 million tonne in 2010-11. It is therefore necessary to maintain an annual growth of over 4 per cent in the next 15 years.

"India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, we face a number of challenges. One of these is achieving inclusive growth and improving the delivery of services in our rural areas. Dairying is a major source of livelihood for millions of small milk producers. About 70 million of the (reported) 150 million rural households depend on dairying for a livelihood in varying degrees. With a low gini coefficient, dairying in India can play a major role in overcoming the challenge of achieving inclusive growth," Patel said.

The following initiatives will be implemented:

Increasing productivity through scientific breeding & nutrition

Genetic progress over a larger population can be accelerated if breedable animals are bred using the semen of a few top high-genetic merit bulls. The proportion of milch animals bred through artificial insemination (AI) need to be raised from 20 per cent to 35 per cent over the six-year project period. NDP envisages the production of 2,500 high-genetic merit and disease-free cattle and buffalo bulls of different breeds using internationally-established practices of progeny testing and pedigree selection and the import of 400 Jersey and Holstein Friesian bulls. Various A and B-graded semen stations in the country would also be strengthened for production of about 100 million doses for use by semen stations across the country. A pilot model to demonstrate viable and sustainable AI delivery service that follows standard operating procedures will also be funded under the NDP, to reach 4 million AI deliveries per annum by the end of the plan period.

To provide high quality, disease-free semen for this initiative, it is necessary for state governments to notify bull production areas and semen stations as 'disease control areas' and also implement other disease containment and monitoring programmes.

In order to maximise the genetic potential of milch animals, they must be fed a balanced ration. An initiative to educate farmers on feeding their animals a balanced ration will be carried out by 40,000 local resource persons. This is expected to lead to a decrease in feed costs, thus increasing the farmer's income. An additional benefit of ration balancing is a reduction in methane emission levels which is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases.

Strengthening village-based milk procurement systems

Steps will be taken to expand village-based procurement systems by strengthening existing co-operatives and facilitating the setting up of producer companies or new-generation co-operatives. It is expected the about 1.2 million milk producers in 23,800 additional villages will be covered. Alongside, capacity building, training and education programmes will promote technologies and improved practices at the village level.

Project management and learning

Since the initiatives of the NDP are dispersed over various parts of the country, the programmes and their outcomes are to be integrated, tracked and monitored through ICT systems for effective decision- making.

Long-term benefits

The NDP will put in place a scientific approach and systematic process which will take the country on the path to improving the genetics of milk-producing animals and encourage the use of modern, proven technologies in milk production. In doing so, it will make much more prudent use of the country's scarce natural resources, improve the quality of milk being marketed, and help strengthen regulatory and policy measures that will provide an enabling environment for the future growth of dairying in the country.
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