Since 2001, World Milk Day is celebrated each year on June 1 all over the world. This day was founded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to appreciate all the dairy farmers and the dairy sector in the world. In addition to this, this day also shows us the importance of milk as a global food. Today, India is the world's largest producer of milk, with 22 per cent of global production, followed by the United States of America, China, Pakistan, and Brazil. However, decades ago, the country used to be milk deficit and imported milk from other countries to serve its ever-increasing population.
From milk deficit to milk surplus
In the 1950s and 1960s, India was dependent on milk imports. It wasn't until 1965 when the Indian government finally decided to establish a National Dairy Development Board to help the dairy sector of the country.
In the following decade, the country aimed at enhancing its milk production, which led to the launch of 'Operation Flood'. Finally, in 1998, India surpassed the US and became the largest milk producer in the world. India's per capita of milk doubled during 1991-2018, with the rate of production growing at 4% CAGR.
White Revolution and the 'milkman'
A significant event in Indian history is the 'White Revolution', the brainchild of Dr Verghese Kurien. He is well known for his tremendous efforts in turning India into the world's largest milk producing country today. Under him, many important institutions were established, such as the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd and the National Dairy Development Board. These companies played a significant role in shaping the Dairy Cooperative Movement across the country. The Anand model of cooperative dairy became extremely famous and was practised all over the country, as per a report of NDTV.
Contribution by Amul
In the past two decades, India's milk production has doubled. The credit also goes to a well-known federation called 'Amul', which was made by 3.6 million milk producers in Gujarat. In order to improve the livelihood of the farmers, Amul also had a similar plan like the 'Operation Flood'. By helping small dairy farmers earn livelihoods, the production of milk per house was doubled.
Technology also played a crucial role in the growth of Amul Dairy. The company now uses Automatic Milk Collection Systems that makes the collection process seamless and quicker, said a report of Financial Express. The company collects 3.3 million litres of milk every day and from 2.12 million farmers from various villages across India. Currently, Amul has 31 plants, with 13 of them in Gujarat.
World Milk Day 2021 and the future
The theme of this years 'World Milk Day' is sustainability in the dairy sector with messages on nutrition. In addition to this, according to the figures in a NITI Aayog report, India aims at doubling its milk production in the next decade.
Currently, the government is also trying to set up village-level dairy infrastructure under the National Action Plan on Dairy development to increase the share of organizing milk handling in the country.