World’s largest milk producer importing milk!

We are all raised with stories of Krishna and his butter. From Ancient times, milk is the basic part of every Indian. As the world's largest producer of milk, we are the largest consumer also. It is not necessarily importing milk as a whole but rather some milk products, such as skimmed milk powder and whey protein. Because we consume various milk forms, there are several reasons for this such as butter, Cheese whey, Curd, Cheese, Cream, Milk for Babies, Skimmed milk powder, and Ghee. And many daily products we prepare fresh at our home like Halwa, Mithai, Ice cream, cake, kheer, etc.

Firstly, India's domestic consumption of milk and milk products has been rising steadily over the years due to an increase in population, urbanization, and rising incomes.

Secondly, Indians like to consume fresh milk so India's dairy industry is largely focused on producing liquid milk, which is hardly stable for 12h. As a result, there is a surplus of liquid milk in the country and we don’t have better storage facilities for long consumption.

Thirdly, discontinuing the cattle industry due to the quarantine period induces less consumption in hotels, restaurants, ceremonies like weddings, and the closing of local tea vendor shops during the coronavirus outbreak, we are unable to balance this sudden increment of consumption. According to data from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairy in 2022-2023, milk production was estimated at 223 million tonnes it’s almost the same as in 2021-2022 (221 million tonnes).

Fourth, there are times when milk production in certain parts of the country is lower due to various factors like weather (heat wave), and disease outbreaks such as over 184,447 cattle died due to Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) across India during 2022-23, and other logistical issues.

viral photo of  dead cows infected from lumpy virus 

Improper availability of fodder due to the economic condition of farmers decreased drastically during covid outbreak which affects cattle health and milk production and breeding including affecting the number of cattle increments.

Overall, while India remains a major milk-producing country, importing certain milk and milk products will affect our country economically and politically due to the increasing inflation rate. As we consider data of the overall inflation rate is approximately 6% and the milk inflation rate drastically increased upto 9.6%

Lastly, the Indian government also exports milk products like whole milk powder and butter, and importing skimmed milk powder and whey protein can help balance the trade, it increases the possibility to meet domestic demand and ensure a stable dairy industry and remains competitive in the global market.

In the next decade, the Indian population is expected to be 1.5 billion, this increasing population and stable Indian economic growth may also increase in demand for milk. India needs to focus on fodder availability, medical facilities for cattle, and Improvement in the supply chain to tackle the challenges in the dairy industry. Importing milk can make India depend on other countries it’s not the final solution for huge Indian demands.

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