reducing carbon footprint in dairying

Established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Milk Day is celebrated every year on June 1st, to recognise the importance of milk as a global food, where the benefits of consuming milk and milk products are actively promoted world-wide. With the dairy sector supporting the livelihoods of around one billion people, the theme for this year is focussed on the sustainability in the dairy sector by emphasising on environment, nutrition and socio-economic to achieve the meta objective of reducing carbon footprint and creating a carbon neutral future for dairy.

To celebrate this important day, the Verghese Kurien Centre of Excellence (VKCoE) housed at IRMA, in association with the Indian Dairy Association (IDA) Gujarat Chapter conducted a webinar on “Reducing Carbon Footprint in Dairying” as part of Dr Verghese Kurien Centenary Year Celebrations.

Introduction by Dr J B Prajapati

Dr. J.B Prajapati, the Chairperson of VKCoE as well as the Chairman of IDA, Gujarat chapter convened the meeting by briefing about the importance and history of milk in the Vedas. He further introduced Dr. Umakant Dash, the Director of IRMA, who greeted the dignitaries and welcomed them for the webinar. Dr. Dash mentioned that Gujarat stands first when it comes to interventions in the dairy sector and also highlighted the importance of milk in the Indian Economy and how it supports millions of farmers by improving their livelihoods. He advocated the need to incorporate a sustainable and an economical farm business to achieve a low-carbon future for dairy.

Introduction by Dr J B Prajapati

NDDB’s perpectivre By Sh Meenesh Shah

Shri. Meenesh Shah, Executive Director, NDDB spoke about the developments and the initiatives taken by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to reduce carbon footprint in dairying. Feeding management, improving crop residue, manure management, promotion of the use of renewable energy and improving the efficiency of dairy plants are some of the initiatives undertaken by NDDB, which was highlighted at length by him. In accordance to feeding management, providing a balanced feed to the cattle is an important initiative undertaken at NDDB. According to him, feeding the cattle with a balanced and nutrient rich ration reduces carbon footprint by about 30% in the entire lifespan of the cattle. The Ration Balancing Program of NDDB has educated about 3 million dairy farmers about the scientific feeding techniques which has eventually led to a reduction in the enteric methane emissions per kg milk by 15%. It is estimated that by envisaging the RBP for the country as a whole, a reduction of 544 tonnes in CO2 emissions can be witnessed every year.

Mr. Shah emphasised the importance of the use of Total Mixed Ration (TMR) to improve milk productivity and to also use crop residue in the feed to minimize the GHG foot print of milk production. In the third initiative undertaken for manure management, Mr. Shah spoke about supporting dairy farmers to install bio-gas plants at their residence. NDDB has so far set up around 2000 bio-gas plants across 18 milk states of India, which has reduced carbon emissions by 4000 tonnes. Furthermore, the slurry that is produced at the farms is aggregated through women’s cooperatives on a defined quality parameter and is also used to prepare bio-fertilizers to be utilized in their farms. Optimizing the usage of energy by using non-conventional energy sources like solar power is another initiative undertaken at NDDB. In this regard, concentrated solar thermal systems are established and integrated with the thermal utilities of the dairy plant. Similarly, Solar photovoltaic system is also used to generate electricity and sometimes, when the energy is not in use, the surplus energy is exported to the solar grid to ensure its sustainable utilization. He concluded the speech by mentioning that NDDB would be happy to collaborate with several organizations and farmers to achieve the net-zero emissions in dairying. 

Amul’s initiative by Dr R S Sodhi

Dr. R.S Sodhi, the Managing Director of GCMMF greeted all on world milk day delivered his speech by presenting a few data and facts about the climate change scenario in the world. He mentioned that carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse gas emission per capita in India is only 1.84 tonnes as against the global average of 4.8 tonnes. According to him, out of the total emissions, only 25% is contributed by the food sector, which comprises agriculture, dairy, food processing, transport etc. US alone is responsible for 40% of the emissions, while Europe is responsible for  29%. He also spoke about how for the production of 1 kg of fat and SNF, around 2.5 kg of carbon-dioxide is emitted. He further advocated the importance of being dependent on small dairy farms as compared to large scale industrial units to reduce carbon emissions. He emphasised that scientists and researchers should come up with projects to study effect of breed as well as different feeding systems on carbon emissions and enteric fermentation in cows and buffaloes.

Understanding Carbon Foot print by Sh Amit Vyas, MD Amul Dairy

Shri. Amit Vyas, the Managing Director of Amul Dairy delivered very informative presentation, who started the speech by enlightening the audience about the concept of carbon footprint, which is defined as the emission of carbon-dioxide and other green-house gases by different activities in an organizations. Stating about the effect of climate change, he informed that with every 1.2 degree rise in earth’s temperature, the carbon concentrations increase by 20 ppm. Greenhouse gases emissions have increased over the years owing to the adverse effects of human activities and industrialization.

Mr. Vyas advocated that it is imperative to reduce greenhouse gases by 7.6% every year between 2020 and 2030 to maintain the increase in global temperature at 1.5 degrees and further reduce it. He spoke about how each individual can contribute towards reducing carbon emissions by inculcating sustainable habits like changing light bulbs to LED, buy energy efficient appliances, minimize fuel consumption and so on. Mr. Vyas spoke about the different initiatives and measures taken by Amul Dairy to reduce emissions. He mentioned that a solar BMC (Bulk Milk Cooler) was installed for the first time in the farm of Mogar village. Moreover, Amul Dairy is in process of setting up 150 more solar powered BMCs across other villages. Mr. Vyas also envisaged that the pilot project performed in Mujkuva of installing bio-gas plants and village cooperative society completely operated by solar energy which will be replicated in other villages as well.

Digital tagging and its role in reduction of carbon footprint

He further spoke about the digital tagging system of cattle that is helping to reduce carbon footprints in many ways. It is used to determine and track the health condition of the animal on a timely basis. This system has helped the personnel working at Amul to track the type of feed given to the cattle and to perform AI (Artificial Insemination) on the cattle as per the request made by the farmers on the mobile application. Mr. Vyas also emphasized that ration balance program for animals also helped in reducing carbon emissions.  Milk collection at the cooperative society, the fat and SNF percentage, the price paid to farmer. etc is completely digitalised, such that the farmer can keep a track with just a click of a button.  BMC monitoring system is also digitalised. Similarly, with route optimization and a proper tracking system of the milk stored in a GPS based milk tanker, the CO2 emissions have been reduced by 65.25 metric tonnes per annum. Further, he mentioned about Amul green initiatives where installation of biogas plants has resulted in reduction of greenhouse gas emission of 511 MT/annum.

Water management system that involves rain water harvesting, water treatment and waste treatment plants has resulted in significant reduction in conservation of energy. All the condensate generated in plant is reutilized. At the plant in Virar, an initiative towards zero liquid discharge has started where the treated effluent is processed through R.O plant. This way, in each AMUL plant situated in different regions of the country, steps are undertaken to achieve a carbon neutral future for dairy with sustainable measures. Mr. Vyas also spoke about the water treatment plant in Anand which is fully automated, where the water supply in the plant comes with constant pressure. If there is wastage in a particular section, it is immediately recognised and the wastage is reduced. These plants operate on full capacity with 70% less power consumption. This way, the adoption of latest technologies by AMUL Dairy in different segments like power, water, warehouse, milk and product processing and waste management have been greatly instrumental in the reduction of green-house gases.

Automation the key to reducing power consumption

Power reduction is achieved by increasing automation, use of VFD/soft starters, evaporative condensers, electric heat pumps, energy efficient boilers, etc.  He also indicated that use of latest technologies help minimizing energy requirements. He gave examples of storage in warehouses, smart shuttle system, storage systems in cattle feed and cold store, processing sections, IoT based ice cream plant operations, cooling system in cheese plant, paneer manufacture, THR plant and sweet manufacturing plants. He also mentioned about use of robotics for automatic crate handling system at Virar plant for the first time in dairy industry. He also talked about digitalized corporate management system, solid waste management and plastic recycling as contribution to reduction of environmental footprints. Mr. Vyas gave his concluding remarks by mentioning the future developments to be undertaken, which includes development t of green buildings with solar panels, search for alternative to plastic packaging, the use of LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) as fuel in dairy transportation along with use of solar based electrical trucks. In this regard, solar based electric bikes will be used for milk collection whereas the transportation of milk. He further advocated this will reduce the overall carbon footprint, along with cost reduction of up to 15%. The initiative of solar plant connected with DISCOM and cow dung-based bio fuel and bio fertilizer as under consideration and agreement process.

Shri Arun Patil, Chairman of the IDA (West zone) while giving remarks on the webinar, indicated that AMUL, which is known for bringing changes in the social scenarios, has taken several successful measures in reducing carbon footprint in dairy. He spoke about how the environmental, social and governance aspects are looked into by AMUL, which must be emulated by other cooperatives and private players in the dairy industry to arrive at the dream envisioned by Dr. Kurien.  Later on Dr J V parekh, Prof. Hitesh Bhatt and few other experts gave their comments.

Dr. J.B Prajapati concluded the webinar by summarizing the key points highlighted by the dignitaries and thanked all the participants who made the event a grand success.  

Source :

Source : A report on Webinar organised ” Reducing Carbon Foot Print in Dairying “on June 1st,2021 during the World Milk Day Celebrations at VKCoE, IRMA , Anand Gujarat

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