Centre drawing Rs 15,000 cr plan for modernisation of milk plants

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The Centre is chalking out ambitious plans to modernise milk plants in the cooperative sector at an estimated cost of Rs 15,000 crore, which it is arranging from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The talks between JICA and agriculture and finance ministries are at an advanced stage and the deal is likely to materialise soon, said Devendra Chaudhry, secretary in department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries. Reflecting the growth of the urban middle population, eating habits have been changing and there is growing emphasis on “healthy diets,” according to a JICA report. The demand for dairy products, which have a great potential to contribute to increasing farmers’ income, has been rapidly increasing, the report further said.

The government has admitted that in order to sustain 6 per cent growth, improved technologies, capacity building, marketing, scientific livestock management, knowhow related to milk production and better arrangement of loans is necessary. The dairy sector is to play a very important role in the government’s plan to help double farmers’ income by 2022.

Chaudhary said there is an urgent need to modernise the cooperative sector. Many plants have not been able to modernise after being set up. The government is also thinking of bringing out a milkmark, similar to woolmark, to protect the Indian milk.

The acceptability of Indian milk abroad will further get a fillip through this initiative, Chaudhary said.

Efforts are also on to declare India free from foot-& -mouth disease. It will be done statewise. The Centre has identified Telengana, Maharashtra, AP and Punjab in this regard.

India has achieved 4.2 per cent average growth in milk output in the last deca­de, far exceeding the world average of 2.2 per cent. During 2015-16, the growth was 6.7 per cent with an output of 15.5 crore tonnes.

The national dairy development board aims to raise per capita availability of milk from 337 gram to 500 gram by 2021-22. The demand of milk and milk products is rising and is likely to go up by 24 crore tonnes by 2025.

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