We have been reading a lot about the dairy industry for the last few weeks. Some great insights have been shared by renowned economists, scientists, politicians and senior journalists. Let me list the five different areas in which the dairy was discussed and deliberated in the media.
a. Reasons for higher milk prices
b. Import of dairy commodities by government of India
c. Amul in Nandini or Nandini in Milma territory
d. India will have to open imports if it wishes to expand dairy exports
e. Government of India merging two mega dairy infrastructure schemes into one.
Ladies and gentlemen ! Fasten your seat belts now
Summer has arrived in India. Climate change has already shown us it’s cruel intent by devastating almost one sixth of total Rabi crops. This will also have an impact on availability of dry fodder. In certain areas the farmers cleared their farm by selling dry fodder for as low as Rs 3.70 per kgs. The same wheat straw touched a wheat equivalent price Rs 18-21 also last year. The poor-quality wheat will also flood the market as the farmers may not like to stock poor-quality-wheat for their livestocks.
There will be a good chance of a surge in aflatoxins in milk during summer. As most of the Rabi crops remained under wet conditions in the open for a long period.
El nino is waiting around the corner
India’s southwest monsoon season in 2023 may be below normal. ( By Skymet Weather, a private weather forecasting agency based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.)
Many climate–models have forecast the development of an El–Niño event in the equatorial Pacific–Ocean starting as soon as May.
There is a 25 per cent chance for the season to be ‘normal’ and 20 per cent chance for it to be a drought year (monsoon rainfall below 90 per cent of the LPA), Skymet estimated.
The distribution of rainfall throughout the season would also be skewed, as Skymet predicted a 70 percent chance of normal rainfall in June and 50 percent chance of normal rainfall in July.
There is a 60 percent chance of below-normal rainfall in August and 70 percent chance of below-normal rainfall in September.
Normally a drought year seldom creates milk shortage , rather in certain circumstances the milk availability improves. As the farmers increase their surplus milk to support their livelihood. The farmers are already sensing this and stocking huge quantities of dry fodder to support their livestocks in the summer.
LSD may return back
As per the Animal pandemic preparedness initiative ( APPI) the department has estimated their direct economic costs as follows .
This burden could be reduced by using an eight pillar approach by the government.
As we could see the true enablers of these pillars are funding and regulatory framework. The problem is not limited to LSD but for FMD also. As per the weather predictions we may have longer periods of higher humidity but lower rains. Such situations are also suitable for other diseases including FMD. The poor immunity levels of animals post LSD may also create a necessary base for outbreak of other diseases.
There was zero cattle insurance coverage in India in 22-23
The proactive approach to safeguard farmers in case of any animal health calamity is cattle insurance. At present, less than 1% of the country’s cattle population is insured; there was zero insurance coverage of livestock in 2022-23; the average yearly premium is unaffordable for most farmers at 4.5% of the insured amount. The non-transferability of policy is another show stopper for promotion of cattle insurance as per Suruchi Research .
There is a very high level of insurance companies’ indifference towards selling livestock insurance products to the farmers. It is high time for the cooperative as well as private sector to mainstream their farmers with the livestock insurance schemes.
Lastly it was also proposed in some forums to treat dairy as an agriculture activity. This way they will also become recipients of compensation in case of any weather related catastrophe by default.
I would also like to suggest the eminent authors and publications to unnecessarily sensationalise the dairy eco system with irrelevant dairy coverage. One of the piece sad that the milk import in India surged by 1000%. he was talking about import of milk and milk products valued at 4.2 million USD only. Shall we even our ears to a 4.2 Mill USD milk import in a 125 Billion USD domestic dairy value. Lower base will always lead to a higher gradient in percentage.
The way forward
I recommend all policy makers , cooperatives and private dairy players to develop and implement strategies in the following areas :
- Supply chain development for making availability of feed and fodder during summer to all the farmers
- Vaccination and extensive animal health camps during summer for LSD and FMD
- Making cattle insurance mandatory for getting any government support and services in the livestock sector. The government may partially support these programs like they are done in many states. This could also be done by creating a combination of livestock insurance products with crop insurance. The heat index based cattle insurance products may also be promoted during this summer season.
- More and more farmers must be made aware of the government of India initiative quoted as below in this regard.
About Sampoorna Pashudhan Kavach Scheme
Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited (AIC), the leadingimplementing agency of Govt.’s flagship Crop Insurance Scheme PradhanMantri Fasal Bima Yojana, is now on an expansion mode offering InsuranceProducts in Livestock domain vide its Saral Krishi Bima and SampoornaPasudhan Kavach. Saral Krishi Bima is a unique and comprehensiveparametric insurance product hedging the Farmers against their economiclosses suffered on account of adverse weather incidences as indicated bynotified proxy weather parameters like Temperature, rainfall and relativehumidity.It is high time for all of us to stop talking about the past and start preparing for the tough times ahead in summer. I request everyone to share their thoughts in this regard and do their bit in implementing any of the above suggestions.
Source : Dairy blog by Kuldeep Sharma Chief editor Dairynews7x7