With nearly 300 million bovines and 187 million tonnes of milk produced annually, India boasts the world’s largest dairy herd. India is #1 in both milk production and consumption among all countries. The majority of the milk is consumed in the United States, however, a little amount is exported. North Indian food, in particular, employs a lot of dairy products like paneer, whilst South Indian cuisine uses a lot of yogurt and milk. In Hindu religious practice and legend, milk and dairy products have a role.

The domestication of zebu cattle 8,000 years ago laid the foundation for dairy products on the Indian subcontinent. Dairy products, particularly milk, have been consumed in the Indian subcontinent since the Vedic time. Operation Flood, which took place in the mid-to-late twentieth century, converted India’s dairy industry into the world’s largest. Previously, milk was produced mostly on family farms in India.

The dairy business has a significant economic impact on India. Buffalo milk accounts for the majority of the milk produced; cow milk is a close second, and goat milk is a distant third. In India, a wide range of dairy products are produced. Imports of dairy products into India are minimal and subject to tariffs. Government authorities such as the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries, the National Dairy Development Board, and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India regulate the domestic industry.

Current Statistics

India produces and consumes the most milk of any country on the planet. As of 2018, annual production was 186 million tonnes. Dairy production accounted for over 4.2 percent of India’s gross domestic product in 2020. The Indian dairy industry is expected to increase at a rate of 4.9 percent per year in 2019. The Indian government reported that 187.7 million tonnes of milk were produced in 2018–19 and that per capita milk availability in India was 394 grams per day. The Indian dairy industry market was worth INR 256,000 crore (USD 34 billion) in the previous fiscal year 2019-20, as families continue to drive milk and milk product consumption.

According to the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, 48 percent of India’s total milk production is eaten by producers or sold to non-producers, mostly in rural areas. The remaining 52% of the surplus is available for purchase by urban consumers. Out of this 52 percent, it is believed that the organized sector, such as cooperatives and private dairies, handles roughly 40 percent of the milk sold, while the unorganized sector handles the remaining 60 percent. Farmers may be discouraged by a lack of market access, which includes a lack of infrastructure for milk collecting, transportation, and processing.

National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)

The foundation of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) is based on the belief that rural India’s development is critical to our nation’s socio-economic prosperity. The Dairy Board was established to promote, finance, and assist producer-controlled and owned businesses. The NDDB’s programs and operations aim to improve farmer-owned institutions while also supporting national policies that promote their growth. Cooperative tactics and values are at the heart of NDDB’s efforts. The NDDB’s initiatives altered India’s rural economy by making dairying a viable and profitable business for millions of milk producers, while also fulfilling the country’s demand for milk self-sufficiency. NDDB has been reaching out to dairy farmers by introducing various creative income-generating activities and providing them with a secure future.

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