Technology will change the canvas of breed improvement : Atul Chaturvedi
CII organises Virtual Conference on Dairy Genetics, Nutrition & Livestock Management Chandigarh (Aditi) “Technology is going to change the canvas of breed improvement,” said, Mr Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Government of India, while addressing the Inaugural Session of the Conference on Dairy Genetics, Nutrition & Livestock Management organised by CII over a Virtual Platform, today. He added that we are holistically addressing the issue of dairy sector and working on an entrepreneurship model rather than poverty alleviation. He said that India's dairy industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. Comparing livestock rearing to an ATM machine for farmers, Mr Chaturvedi, said that no product is as fast moving as milk for a retailer. However, the per capita consumption of milk in India is still only 394 gms per day as compared to 500-700 gms per day in US & Europe. The aim is to raise market demand in dairy sector from 158 million mt tonne presently to 290 million mt tonnes over next five years. The share of the organized sector in milk processing is targeted to be raised to 50% from present 30-35%. The industry was able to turn the COVID crisis into an opportunity. There was an improvement in supply of milk substantially by cooperatives and the average liquid milk consumption by cooperatives was higher during the period. He added that average procurement price of milk also increased, which helped 1.7 crore farmers. He added that Government of India has taken several measures to boost the animal husbandry sector. This includes giving one billion doses of vaccine in a year for FMD which is a bigger drive than in any other country to ensure that cattle are disease-free; animal tagging of five species through Pashu-Aadhar – about 57 crore animals will have unique ID over next 1.5 years on digital platform for mapping their parentage, breed and productivity; improving cattle breeds through artificial insemination, IVF and surrogacy; and aiming to unleash rural entrepreneurs by growing better feed and fodder for animals. Several incentives have been announced like Dairy Infra Development Fund in 2018 and Animal Husbandry Infra Development Fund. Ms Rhiannon Harries, Deputy Trade Commissioner South Asia, British High Commission, New Delhi, said, both UK & India have developed bilateral cooperation in the field of animal husbandry, dairying, and fisheries. The UK India Memorandum of Understanding in agri-tech sector aims to develop bilateral cooperation in the field of animal husbandry, dairying, and fisheries for the purpose of increasing production and productivity of Indian livestock and fisheries. The partnership is expected to improve livestock health, livestock breeding and fisheries aiming at enhancing dairy, fisheries, and animal products for domestic consumption as well as exports. Mr Meenesh Shah, Executive Director, National Dairy Development Board, said, there is a need for integrating learnings and developing systems at each stage in dairy value chain to manage the impacts of COVID 19. Our aim should be to reinforce the consumers’ recognition that cooperative brands are synonymous with good quality. He added that genetic improvement and raising productivity of the Indian bovine population is the key essence of animal breeding. Producing high genetic merit bulls through field-based progeny testing programmes, strengthening the semen stations of the country, delivering AI services to the doorstep of the farmer etc., were the key components. One of the notable changes that NDDB introduced lately, is inclusion of ‘Breeding values’ of young High Genetic Merit bulls, so that a more reliable criteria can be used by the semen stations. Mr Nitin Puri, Group President and Global Head - Food & Agri Strategic Advisory & Research (FASAR), Yes Bank, said, “The hygienic quality of milk is of crucial importance in producing milk and milk products that are safe and suitable for their intended uses. To achieve this quality, good hygiene practices should be applied throughout the dairy chain. Among the causes of small-scale dairy producers’ difficulties in producing hygienic products are informal and unregulated marketing, handling and processing of dairy products; lack of financial incentives for quality improvement; and insufficient knowledge and skills in hygienic practices. Milk testing and quality control should be carried out at all stages of the dairy chain. To ensure that the Indian dairy sector continues to be “Atmanirbhar”, efforts should be made to boost dairy exports and domestic production. Dairy sector in last 5 years has registered a CAGR of more than 6 percent and the total value of production of milk is currently more than Rs 7 lakh crore, while wheat and paddy together amounts to only more than Rs 4 lakh crore in the country. A CII – Yes Bank Report on “Opportunities in Dairy Livestock Nutrition, Genetics & Healthcare Management in India” Was also released on the occasion. Mr Jai Agarwal, Conference Chairman & Co-Chairman, Committee on Food & Agriculture, CII Northern Region &, Managing Director, CP Milk & Food Products Pvt Ltd, said, the objective of organising this Conference was to develop the roadmap for transforming the initiatives into well directed efforts for development of Indian dairy sector to enhance milk production for doubling farmers' income, promoting entrepreneurship and value creation along with dairy value chain to mitigate effects of COVID on dairy sector.