Although India Is The World’s Largest Milk Producer, But There Are Few Challenges Faced By The Indian Dairy Sector Which Are Listed Below.
India has a unique pattern of production, processing and marketing/consumption of milk, incomparable to any large milk producing country. India is the world’s largest milk producer and consumer of dairy products, consuming almost 100% of its own milk production. The Indian dairy sector is different from other dairy producing countries as emphasis is placed on both cattle and buffalo milk. In order to achieve greater profitability, quality standards need to be improved. Following are some of the practical dairy farming challenges in India.
Shortage of feed/fodder
There is an excessive number of unproductive animals which compete with productive dairy animals in the utilisation of available feeds and fodder. The grazing area is being reduced markedly every year due to industrial development resulting in shortage of supply of feeds and fodder to the total requirement. Ever increasing gap between demand and supply in feeds and fodder limits performance of dairy animals. Moreover, provision of poor quality of forage to dairy cattle restricts animal production system. The low capability of purchasing feeds and fodder by the small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers engaged in dairy development result in inadequate feeding. Non-supplementation of mineral mixture results in mineral deficiency diseases. High-cost Feeding reduces the profits of the dairy industry.
Late maturity, in most of the Indian cattle breeds, is a common problem. There is no effective detection of heat symptoms during oestrus cycle by the cattle owners. The calving interval is on the increase resulting in a reduction in efficiency of animal performance. Diseases causing abortion leads to economic loss to the industry. Mineral, hormone and vitamin deficiencies lead to fertility problems.
Education and Training
A vigorous education and training programmes on good dairy practices could result in the production of safe dairy products, but to succeed they have to be participative in nature. In this regard, education and training of all the employees is essential so that they understand what they are doing and develop a sense of ownership. However developing and implementing such programs in the dairy sector requires a strong commitment from the management, which at times, is a stumbling block.
Veterinary health care centres are located in far off places. The ratio between cattle population and veterinary institution is wider, resulting in inadequate health services to animals. No regular and periodical vaccination schedule is followed, regular deworming programme is not done as per schedule, resulting in heavy mortality in calves, especially in buffalo. No adequate immunity is established against various cattle diseases.
Many cattle owners do not provide proper shelter to their cattles leaving them exposed to extreme climatic conditions. Unsanitary conditions of cattle shed and milking yards, leads to mastitis conditions. Unhygienic milk production leads to a reduction in storing quality and spoilage of milk and other products.
Marketing and Pricing
Dairy farmers are not getting remunerative price for milk supply. Due to the adoption of extensive crossbreeding programme with Holstein Friesian breed, the fat content of crossbreed cow's milk is on the declining condition and low price is offered as the milk price is estimated on the basis of fat and solid nonfat milk content. There is also a poor perception of the farmers, due to lack of marketing facilities and extension services, towards commercial dairy enterprise as an alternative to other occupation.