Sreeram V, Aparna Radhakrishnan, Smitha S and Misha Madhavan M participated in the 44th Dairy Industrial Conference and they share their impressions here.
India, the leading milk producer in the world with approximately 17 % of global production, is going through a crucial phase. Indian dairy Industry is poised to become globally competitive and it aims to capture the International dairy market by improving the quality of milk and milk products. However, the Indian dairy industry faces several challenges (Box 1). The 44th dairy industrial conference was organised to provide a perfect platform for the participants including researchers, policy makers, academia, entrepreneurs and farmers to articulate their views, deliberate, synthesize and evolve coherent policy and action plans.
Box 1: Challenges in Indian Dairy Industry
Low animal productivity, poor quality of milk at the farm level and suboptimal value addition are some of the perennial challenges of Indian dairy industry. Moreover, product diversification and dairy value addition sectors need to be revitalized. Indigenous technologies need to be refined by blending and adopting advanced scientific and technological interventions to cater the needs of the local population with improvement in export prospects. Indian dairy production (dominated by the small and marginal holder) is growing at a rate of over 4 per cent per annum with a demand growth of 10% and a supply growth of only 7%. To meet the growing demand for milk and dairy products in the coming years, the present growth rate is inadequate. Thus the sector needs a thrust and shared focus among its diverse stakeholders.
The 44th Dairy Industrial Conference (DIC) was held at ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute with a theme “Make in India: Dairying 2030”. Make in India is an ambitious project, but India desperately needs a kick start and sustenance of its growth momentum.
The grand inaugural ceremony conducted on 18th February was conspicuous by the presence of a large number of experts, scientists and policy makers and famers across the country. The inaugural talks by the experts covered many relevant topics in the dairy sector including need for boosting the per capita production of animals to meet the surge in demand of milk and dairy products, dairying as an enterprise and need for technological breakthroughs. Also there was an emphasis on women inclusive dairying, sustainable production and reduced wastage, improved feed and fodder for animals, enhancing skill development, fostering innovations and the role of dairying as a safety net for the small scale producers.
Sri. T. Nandakumar, Chairman, NDDB, delivered the keynote address. He highlighted the context of dairying in India and its role as a safety net for the vulnerable small holders. He underscored the need for restructuring the “Make in India” programme to “Make in Rural India” especially in the dairying context to make it more inclusive and receptive. He shared his views on the implications of climate change in Indian dairy farming, issues related to mortality and nutrition, namely the Global Hunger Index, stunting of children, infant mortality and the focus of the NDDB Foundation for Nutrition.
All the technical sessions were systematically planned and were churned out through a series of brainstorming exercises.
The technical sessions focussed on the following themes:
- Shifting from scattered to organised animal farms: Sustainability issues
- Convenience and speciality dairy issues
- Balanced feeding of animals for economic milk production
- Carbon neutral and zero waste technologies for Indian dairy industry
- Selecting animals for genes
- Milk quality Assurance: Meeting consumer Demands by 2030
- Improving udder health status
- Globalising “Make In India” dairy foods and equipments
- Supply chain management: Traceability issues from farm to fork
- Group dynamics of milk cooperatives, producer companies, neo-cooperatives
- World trade volatility: Harmonizing norms and practices 12. HRD plans to make Indian animal &dairy education future ready
13. Special session on Skill development on dairying.
The sessions covered almost all arenas of dairying along the entire value chain as well as policy related topics. Here we are gleaning into some of the interesting topics of discussion.
Sri. Rohit Kaushal, Chairperson, PDFA, Ludhiana, elaborated on the commercial dairy farming and profitability issues in case of cow and buffalo rearing. He also shared the experience of establishing a Milk ATM. Mr. Shiv Mudgal from Rabo Bank came up with a nice review of the present dairying scenario of developing and developed countries and predicted a quantum jump in the milk procurement value addition in the coming years. According to him small scale producers will continue to be the key drivers of the dairy sector in the coming years. Rabo Bank is the financial link in the global dairy sector. The session also included a lecture on emerging dairy farming trends in India and improvement of productivity and overall profitability from dairying.
Dr. Ashwin Kumar, Director, Promithean Energy, talked about ways to improve the energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint in the dairy sector. Dr. K. T. Thomas, MD, Kerala Milk Cooperative Marketing Federation (MILMA) detailed on how to make dairying an environment friendly venture by adopting clean energy technologies like bio fuels, solar energy etc. MILMA also declared an energy policy by committing itself to promote green energy at different stages from milk handling and processing. Future thrust should be on renewable energy sources, that will sustainably contribute to lesser carbon emissions.
Session on skill development was particularly relevant as there is a huge demand for skilled personnel in the dairy sector. Dr. Satyendra Arya, CEO, Agriculture Skill Council of India (ASCI), highlighted the various initiatives of ASCI in creating a skilled workforce. Its activities include determining skills, competency standards and qualifications and Pedal operated milking machine development of National Occupation Standards; preparation of skill inventory; development of sector specific skill development plans; certification of vocational institutes; training for trainers etc. ASCI is collaborating with central ministries, state departments, universities and international partners like LANTRA (Sector Skill council on Agriculture in UK), Agrifood Skills Australia, Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council etc.
In line with the theme of the conference, Make in India programme was focused on a session. It threw light on the indigenous technologies and dairy products like shreekhand, kalakand, peda etc. which can be scaled up and promoted in the global markets to usher the dairy sector. A SWOT analysis of the dairy sector was also presented and the scope for furthering our market participation at the global level was reiterated and the need to promote dairy entrepreneurship and small business development. Moreover, India needs to address effectively the emerging challenges under the new trade order affecting the export of dairy products. We have to also keep a close vigil on the mandatory quality specifications in international market so as to overcome the newly emerging international trade barriers.
The session on milk cooperatives and producer companies gave a clear idea on the nitty-gritty of producer organizations and its working mechanism. Expert talks from Prof. K. V. Raju, Development Management Institute, Patna, Mr. Sriram Singh, Practice Head, NDDB Dairy, New Delhi, Mr. R. K. Singh, CEO, Paayas Milk Producer Company enriched the session. They detailed on the organization, stages of growth, functioning and present status of producer companies in India in the dairy sector. Building an efficient value chain for maximising returns, professionally managed business operations, leveraging technology for information and data management were very well discussed in the session.
In the session on supply chain management, Mr. Sanjay Kuberker delivered an interesting lecture on use of innovative technologies like automated systems and remote controlled equipment in dairying. He gave an overview of connected cow for animal health, tracking milk tankers, remote monitoring of chillers, milk vending machines and predictive maintenance of dairy equipment. Mr. Sameer Sarf from Paytm urged use of digital technologies in dairying especially in payments, digital payment advantages and transfers like payment at milk booth and regular payment to milk suppliers and eradicate cash along the value chain!
““Human Resource Development (HRD) plans to make Indian animal & dairy education future ready” was a session particularly relevant for dairy extension. Eminent speakers like Dr. Mahesh Chander, Head Extension, IVRI, Dr. G. R. Patil from NDRI and Dr. P. V. K. Sasidhar from IGNOU richly contributed to the session with their valuable insights and policy recommendations. Together they batted for reforms in the dairy education and HRD scenario to meet the emerging challenges. Also there was a demand for building the critical competence of the dairy practitioners including the students to fit them into the industrial demands, skill pyramid for dairy/food processing and need to strengthen informal and ICT enabled mechanisms. Apart from the technical knowledge and skills, there is a lack of soft skills like communication, people management etc. The most creative suggestion from the participants was the demand for Dairy Council of India to regulate and standardize the Dairy Education in the country.
On the sidelines of DIC, Dr. S. Ayyappan, Director General, ICAR inaugurated the newly established National Referral Centre for Milk Quality & Safety. It will work in hand with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Bureau of Indian Standards to develop new strategies for ensuring the quality of dairy foods in the country. The center will also be a focal point for the providing training to the technical personnel involved in the evaluation of the quality of Milk and Milk Products.
One of the most attractive events of the DIC was plenary lectures from some of the renowned National and International experts. These include Dr. V. Prakash, Director of research, JSS Technical Institution, Mysore on the role of dairy products in diet and lifestyle for promoting health and wellness, Dr. Manohar Garg from Nutraceutical Research Group on the topic “Dairy fat: Friend or Foe” and Mr. N. Van Belzen, DG, International Dairy Federation, Belgium on the outlook of dairy sector in the next decade. Dr Manohar Garg had an interesting finding on the consumption of saturated fats with n-3PUFA that could have an important implication for worldwide dietary guidelines.
Dr. Varghese Kurian Memorial Lecture
For the first time, in the history of DIC a memorial lecture was started on the remembrance of “Father of White Revolution in India” by the Director General of ICAR, Dr. S. Ayyappan. The lecture started with thanking the contributions made by the “Milk Man”. He raised a relevant question to the audience “If agriculture cannot make in India, what else can be”? He underscored the need for sustainable improvements in all fronts of agriculture which is a product of 3 M’s i.e., Monsoon, Market and Mindset.
Increased focus is demanded in areas like climate smart farming, bio fortification, sensor based agriculture and development of Indian Health food Industry. He also urged for the promotion of agri- tourism, agri robotics and space application of agriculture. The talk gave much emphasis on the initiatives of ICAR to meet the emerging challenges in the agricultural sector and policy imperatives to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Kindly see the link to the lecture: http://ndri.res.in/ndri/Documents/news_KURIEN_19feb2016.pdf
Dairy Industrial Exhibition
Exhibitions are excellent means to promote innovative technologies in any sector. It links the knowledge gained by the participants in the technical sessions to the practical understanding by demonstrations and display. The DIC was the right venue to organize such an exhibition largely on the interest of farmers, industrial partners as well as budding dairy entrepreneurs.
Exhibits from over 200 companies around the globe viz. Nestle, Mother Dairy, Dupont, Danone, Kwality Dairy, Benny Impex, Goma Engineering etc. had turned out to showcase the technological prowess of the sector and to promote transfer of technology. A large variety of milk products were exhibited from conventional paneer and cheese to sugar free, probiotic milk products and functional foods. Participation from dairy equipment firms, dairy processing and value addition firms, dairy plant machinery industries and renowned publishers made it a huge success.
- First and foremost the conference was a landmark event in terms of ensuring the participation of diverse dairy stakeholders ranging from farmers, scientists, experts, dairy industry representatives, policy makers, NGOs etc. in and outside the country. The fact that 57 out of the 61 invited speakers who are the stalwarts in the dairying arena attended the function itself speaks about the success of the event. The event thus turned to be an ideal platform bringing together various dairying stakeholders and culminated in generating and synthesising many relevant policy recommendations.
- “Technology sharing Business meet” was organised on the side lines of DIC to present, demonstrate and commercialize technologies developed at NDRI to interested entrepreneurs/Industries. The technologies for adulteration detection, dairy pathogen detection, dairy processing and dairy production were showcased during the meet. Director of NDRI, Dr. A. K. Srivastava said that NDRI have developed around 100 innovative technologies, many of which have been commercialized keeping in harmony with “Make in India” theme of the conference. He gave a glance of the 15 technologies successfully transferred by NDRI in the current financial year (2015-16) to dairy industry. Probiotic cultures and rapid tests for detection of adulteration in milk are the cutting edge technologies that many companies had come forward to license.
- Special attraction of the conference was the Dairy Industrial Exhibition. Some of the technologies like Ayurvet Progreen Hydroponics Green House Machine for the insitu cultivation of green fodder, Pedal operated milking machine are surely going to make their count in our dairy sector. The exhibition drew a huge crowd and won the appreciation from all the visitors.
- In the inaugural session of DIC a bimonthly newspaper “Dairy Times” covering almost all aspects of the Indian Dairy Industry was launched to benefit the diverse dairy stakeholders.
- Young scientist presentations were made a part of the conference for the first time in the DIC history. Some of the most vibrant brains of India presented their research findings on the occasion and the best among them, Dr. Sreenu Reddy, Ph.D. Scholar from NDRI won the “Young Scientist award” judged by an eminent group of panellists. This will serve as a motivation for the grooming research scholars to come up with research on
innovative ideas in the dairy sector. The best paper awards for the articles of the journals of Indian Dairy Association was shared by Dr R S Khanna (first), Aparna Radhakrishnan and Dr Jancy Gupta (Second), Dr R S Gandhi (Second) in commercial aspects.
- The Conference witnessed brimming participation of farmers across the country till the last day. Special Farmer’s sessions on breeding, feeding, health management, small holder dairy production, milk processing and pricing matters etc. were held exclusively for the farmers. This enabled healthy interactions (in hindi) of the experts and scientists with farmers.
- Awards were constituted to those who made special contributions to the dairy sector. The awardees included cooperative members, subject experts and dairy farmers, dairy entrepreneurs etc. Notably special awards were constituted for women dairy producers/entrepreneurs.
- Meticulous planning was visible in each and every aspect of the DIC including the schedule of programmes, conduct of events, food and accommodation arrangements.
Time management is often the main constraint in conducting the meetings and conferences. Many a times the presentations and discussions do lag more than the scheduled time and make delay the succeeding events.
But the 44th DIC tackled this issue in a unique way by strictly allotting a fixed time for each speaker and the discussions were held only at the end of each session. Question Forms (QF) were distributed to the participants to raise their queries in the written format. Selected questions were discussed at the end. It was also informed that all the questions with their answers will be pooled and made into a Question bank /FAQ format and will be uploaded in the Indian Dairy Association (IDA) website.
The 44th DIC concluded by creating a milestone of success in the history of Indian Dairy Association with a plan to conduct next DIC at Mumbai.
Sreeram V, (email@example.com ) Aparna Radhakrishnan, (firstname.lastname@example.org), Smitha S (email@example.com ) and Misha Madhavan M (firstname.lastname@example.org ) are PhD Scholars at the ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal.