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Decoding the potential of dairy technology in J&K

The development of the Dairy sector in India and the outstanding role dairy cooperatives has played since the start of Operation Flood are fundamental to the incredible growth story of the nation after Independence. India produces 23% of the world’s milk now, making it the largest producer in the world. The development of the rural economy depends heavily on the animal husbandry and dairy sector in India.

Millions of households have the potential to generate revenue from this industry, which also supplies them with a crucial supply of food. Several measures have been initiated by the Government to increase the productivity of livestock, which has resulted in increasing milk production significantly. Milk production during 2020-21 and 2021-22 is 209.96 million tonnes and 221.06 million tonnes respectively showing an annual growth of 5.29%. The per capita availability of milk is around 444 grams/day in 2021-22.

In order to boost the dairy sector, the Government of India has come up with various schemes namely, National Animal Disease Control Programme, Rashtriya Gokul Mission, Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF), National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD), Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) Scheme, Kisan Credit Card (KCC) for Animal Husbandry and Dairying Farmers and Dairy Entrepreneurship development scheme (DEDS).

Since Dairy is the single-largest Agri commodity in India. 80 million dairy farmers are directly employed by it, which makes up about 5% of the country’s total GDP. Over the previous five years ending in 2020, the dairy sector expanded at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.15% which is expected to increase by 13.2% during 2023-2028. Over 50% of the dairy industry’s revenue comes from the liquid milk segment, where growth is expected to be consistent (6-7%). Compared to the unorganized section, the organized dairy market has had quicker development and makes up 26-30% of the industry (by value).

Moreover, in the total workforce of 7 million engaged exclusively in the rearing of cattle and buffalo, 69 percent of them are female workers, which is 5.72 percent of the total female workforce in the country of which 93 percent live in rural areas. The milk-consuming population has been consistently rising in the country both in rural and urban areas. The liquid milk market represents about half of the total dairy market in the country. Of the total liquid milk market, the share of the organized sector has increased from 32 % to 41 % in the last 3 years. It is estimated that the share of the organized sector would reach 54 % by 2026.

Further, Niti Aayog estimates that the country is expected to increase its milk production to 330 million metric tonnes in 2033-34 from the current level of 221.06 million metric tonnes so that in coming years there is a possibility of India becoming the contributor of 33 percent of global milk production.

Opportunities in the Dairy sector:

From farm to fork!
The intricate dairy supply chain starts on the farm and ends in the refrigerator. From milking the cows to supplying end products, dairy businesses must adhere to strict processing and handling requirements to ensure the quality and safety of the milk and milk products. Future development of the dairy industry is possible only by giving proper importance to the processing of milk and developing the right kind of human resources for the dairy and food industry.

Further having a capable workforce in place is crucial for the smooth operation of any dairy enterprise which will be responsible for meticulously executing an array of responsibilities ranging from maintaining milch herd health, ensuring the quality of milk used for direct retail or processing, using innovation and technology for producing and selling value-added products, and ensuring safe preservation and timely delivery to the consumers.
Where could a career in dairy technology take you?
A career in dairy technology can offer a diverse range of opportunities within the dairy industry and related sectors. An array of job opportunities is available with each having a unique role to play. They can find work in cooperative and private milk facilities in a variety of capacities, including purchasing milk, processing milk, and testing milk quality. Additionally, they can find work in the dairy equipment & machinery industry as well as in the food industries that deal with functional foods and infant meals.

A dairy professional can choose the available opportunities as per their interest. They can work as Product developers wherein they can create new products, and flavours, with added functionality and health benefits. Dairy Technologist is a suitable fit for implementing new technologies and processes. They can also become dairy engineers showcasing skills and creativity in designing, installing, and maintaining equipment and machinery used in dairy production. The dairy industry is becoming increasingly tech-driven due to recent trends that point to widespread automation this has created demand for engineers in most dairy industries.
The monitoring and testing of the quality of milk and dairy products to ensure they meet industry standards creates an opportunity for a Dairy Quality Control Officer. Dairy Sales and Marketing Executive fulfills the role of promoting and selling dairy products to customers and distributors. As milk procurement officers, they can look after collecting and purchasing milk from dairy farmers and ensuring its quality and quantity. Dairy Nutritionist develops and implements nutrition plans for dairy animals to optimize their health and milk production. Dairy Accountant manages the financial aspects of a dairy farm or facility, including budgeting, accounting, and record-keeping.

Dairy Extension Officer provides education and technical assistance to dairy farmers on best practices for animal care and production. Additionally, students can obtain a job in teaching, research, and extension cadre positions at colleges and universities by obtaining higher education in many disciplines of dairy science. Additionally, there are many work opportunities available worldwide, and many graduates of dairy programs go overseas to finish their studies in the dairy and food sciences. Not only that, but graduates are also able to compete on equal footing in a number of competitive exams, such as those for the civil services, banking, etc.,
To grab top jobs in the dairy sector, enrolment in an academic course that not only educates the candidate on various facets of dairy production, processing, and supply chain but also makes him/her industry-ready is essential. For this, specialists with the necessary qualifications are needed. e.g., diploma, degree, postgraduate, and doctorate level. The most apt academic course for pursuing a career in the dairy industry is the B. Tech (Dairy Technology) program. Graduation in the field of dairy science is the combination of the five subjects Dairy Technology, Dairy Engineering, Dairy Microbiology, Dairy Chemistry, Dairy Economics, and Business Management.

The objective of dairy technology education is to make available trained human resources to the dairy industry and to educate milk producers, entrepreneurs, and consumers about the quality aspect of milk by imparting short-term training in various aspects of milk handling. Dairy technology education offers a lot of potential in this situation. But there is a lack of awareness among the masses regarding the importance of dairy education in India and the various career opportunities lying ahead in this sector. The UT of Jammu and Kashmir is likewise falling behind in this aspect.

Jammu and Kashmir is home to a thriving bovine industry, with about 31.45 lakh bovines the region accounts for 1.04% of India’s total bovine population. As per ISS-2020-21, the annual milk production in J&K is 25.94 lakh MT and the average annual milk production per cow in the region stands at 2380 litre, which is higher than the national average. The milk economy in J&K is valued at Rs 9080 cr which plays a crucial role in the UT’s agri-economy. The dairy industry in J&K holds immense potential for UT’s economy, providing employment opportunities and contributing to the local population’s well-being. This industry is anticipated to grow significantly over the next few years due to the state’s low per capita availability of milk and rising demand for dairy products. With the increasing demand for dairy products and the per capita availability of milk being lower than many milk potential states, the dairy sector is poised for significant growth in the UT in the coming years.

Hence, the J&K government has taken a major step towards boosting the agriculture and allied sectors with the recent launch of the Holistic Agriculture Development Program (HADP). The J&K government is committed to supporting the dairy sector and ensuring its sustainable growth, thereby contributing to the overall economic development of the UT. The HADP encompasses 29 innovative projects, including a visionary plan for Dairy Development in J&K over the next 5 years. The J&K Government hopes to achieve remarkable growth in average annual milk productivity, from 2380 liters to 4300 liters, by 2027 by AI intervention. Moreover, 15700 Jobs and 600 enterprises in the dairy sector will be created in the next five years. Under HADP, the Govt of J&K has allocated a budget of Rs 370.51 crores.

Considering the potential scope of the new initiatives the UT Government of J&K has taken another major initiative by opening a Dairy Technology Faculty at SKUAST-J RS Pura, Jammu to create human resources that will meet the demands of the budding private industries, milk cooperatives, and open research and development opportunities in dairy sector in J&K. This faculty offer programs, courses, dedicated to advancing knowledge and skills in the field of dairy technology. The college offers a 4-year degree program that offers intensive training in the processing and quality control of milk and milk products and engineering aspects of dairy processing equipment. The eligibility criteria for students to get enrolled in FDT is a common entrance test conducted by SKUAST J per year with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as the essential criteria.
For the past few years, J&K Government has been focusing on the development of the dairy sector in this region to make it self-sufficient in milk production and as a result, the trend of dairy farming is increasing as a result there is the possibility of flourishment of numerous dairy enterprises and companies that will lead to the better employment opportunities and various career avenues way ahead. So, this is the golden opportunity for students seeking various career options after 12th to come forward and enroll yourself in the Faculty of dairy technology to make most of your talent in the dairy industry and advance your career globally as it has been rightly said, “Opportunities don’t happen, you create them”- Chris Grosser

Source : Daily Excelsior Sep 06th 2023, The authors are Assistant Professor, Dairy Technology, Faculty of Dairy Technology, R.S Pura SKUAST Jammu and Assistant Professor, Dairy Business Management, Faculty of Dairy Technology, R.S Pura, SKUAST Jammu

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