So finally 2020 is over and we are in 2021. Everyone just got almost fed up and started to wait eagerly for 2021 to arrive soon. However time takes its own time to accomplish its journey. Einstein’s theory of relativity could not have been learnt better than during this period. Which was full of dismay, anguish and full of anxiety. The time moves fast when everything is going your way and it practically crawls during the period of crisis.
Recently I read the following message somewhere and everything changed for me within a few minutes.
” Changing the face can change nothing. But facing the change can change everything. ”
Let us look at the disruptions which have created a paradigm shift in the dairy sector in 2020.
a. The farmers felt the power of cooperatives in true sense. They learnt to manage their animals in the absence of any facility. That too for a considerable period for animal health, breeding, feeding , etc. The farmers also learnt the ways to convert excess milk into dairy products . Products like Khoa, ghee and other non perishable commodities to sustain the financial security. They learnt to live with delayed payments and lower price realization. They also accommodated and supported their friends and family members returning from the cities under reverse migration during the lockdown. The farmers realised the need for market linkages . They also took a step outside their village to deliver milk and milk products in nearby towns and kasbas. Even consumption of milk and milk products got an up surge during last year.
Milk Processors contribution
b. The processors felt themselves responsible. They also realised that human safety in the dairy supply chain is the most important objective for the business. They took good care of their procurement, processing and marketing staff along with vendors and consumers. They also converted their premises including logistics into the most hygienic and safe place for the man, machine and material including the vehicles. The processors from both cooperatives and private sector tried to buy as much milk as possible from the farmers and converted that into long shelf life commodities.
They did it practically without much of the support from the government. Their R&D team learnt the value of speed and churned out a plethora of immunity boosting and nutritious milk and milk products. IT team with them even while working from home created appropriate internet based channels and mobile apps so as to carry out last mile delivery without any problems. Their supply chain extended it’s arm beyond the general trade and modern trade and regularly supplied milk and milk products to millions of households in the country during the lockdown period.
c. The online platforms for distribution and home delivery of groceries and packed food on boarded the dairy range in a big way. Swiggy, Zomato, Big Basket, Milk basket , etc became the milkline of the nation.
d. The demand for consumer packs of healthy and nutritious dairy products like Cheese, paneer, khoa, butter, ghee showed a remarkable increase. Even the immunity booster beverages and ice creams with haldi, tulsi, ashwagandha, ginger, etc showed a very good performance in the market. The consumers shifted focus from the loose and unhygienically produced milk and milk products and showed a great conversion to branded dairy products.
The regulator’s efforts
e. FSSAI took the lead and supported all the FBOs with their flexible approach towards renewals of licenses . They did not wish for the food supply chain to be disrupted in any part of the country. FSSAI also remained equally vigilant to ensure Food safety at all levels of food supply chain from farm to table. The regulator managed to train almost each and every one in food chain on Dos and don’ts during COVID times through their Fostac team and training partners.
All the above changes and a lot more by the government, general public, large corporates , etc created a paradigm shift in the dairy and food sector. These changes could not have been possible in a normal year. The level by which the bar has been raised for the dairy sector in the last one year could not have been even imagined in the next five years.
I better thought to introspect the year which passed by and to look through the new learnings . One of key learning is for sure is “while things are going your way… you are not learning at all”.
Learning is an outcome of your tryst with destiny. It is that gift for which you seek problems in your life. As Richard Bach has written in his masterpiece Illusions : ” There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hand . You seek problems because you need their gifts. “
A dairy blog by Kuldeep Sharma