Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) proposed 1st of June every year to be celebrated as ‘World Milk Day’. Many countries used to celebrate their National Milk Day on different dates but mostly in and around June and the proposal of FAO was generally accepted. And the first ‘World Milk Day‘ was celebrated on 1st June 2015.
An international day to be celebrated on milk was aimed at focusing on the importance of this global food and to highlight the life in the dairy sector and the destiny of the stakeholders. Last year 30 countries actively celebrated the ‘World Milk Day‘. While India celebrated the day with a few dairy seminars and exhibitions, neighboring China conducted educational activities featuring dairy nutrition and health in 2014. Belize, Bosnia, Chile and Sri Lanka targeted schools for the celebrations. If it were ‘milk -races‘ and ‘family-runs‘ in Costa Rica and Philippines, France observed the day with opening the doors of their milk processing plants to the public.
Internationally, the milk fetched good prices during the beginning of 2014. On the contrary, the cost of cattle feed declined and the milk producers started reaping benefits. This initiated renewed vigor in milk production and the milk production started climbing in the major producer countries. This surge in production of milk and dairy products naturally paved way for decline in prices.
Milk Production forecast Summary for Major Exporters (Million Metric Tons)
|2013||2014||2015||2015 over 2014|
This decline is further accelerated by two major turn outs as Russia banning the import of milk and milk products from European Union and around 12% drop in imports by China. And no changes are expected in imports by China during 2015 too as its economic GDP growth is feared to be slowing to 6.5% from the earlier 7.4%. But a lift of the ban in imports by Russia is expected by 2015 which may help stabilizing the global prices. Even then, the year 2015 may not be promising and a marginal growth of 1% is expected in the milk production among major producer countries.
As the European Union has abolished the Milk Quota System on 31 March 2015, a spurt in milk production is expected soon. Current trends and research studies suggest that the EU milk production may go up to 22.6 million tons by 2022 from the current 3.5 million tons with a growth rate of 18.74%. And the exports may increase to 15.74% from 13.7%.
Though being the largest producer of milk globally and with a dairy animal strength of 300 million, Indian scene is different. The following two charts give the milk production from 1950-51 to 2012-13.
The milk production increased from 132.4 million tons (2012-13) by 6% to 140 million tons in 2013-14. India plans to double its (2012) production by 2027 and the annual production is expected to grow by 5.9% to meet the consumption requirements which grows @ 12% in the last decade. Among states of India, Uttar Pradesh tops in production followed by Rajastan and Gujarat. The small scale of cattle holdings, limited availability of fodder, non availability of high quality concentrates and disallowing culling of under-productive cows for religious reasons may be some of the factors which may prevent India from achieving the goal. The National Dairy Plan which focuses on breeding and nutrition is expected to over ride the hindering factors. The projects include enhancement of productivity of dairy cattle and providing farmers greater access to processing units.
The production of milk is and will grow in India. As the availability of green fodder increases substantially following every monsoon and the milk production shoots up by 20-30%, the processing plants find it difficult to handle the excess milk. The production of milk is in excess of the handling capacity of most of the processing plants. As the demand for Skimmed Milk Powder (SKM) has drastically come down following the dip in global prices, the private dairies too have stopped converting the excess milk to SKM.
Higher productivity of cattle, lower production costs and better processing plants are the major concerns of the dairy farming sector. Hope this ‘World Milk Day‘ may motivate all stakeholders to charter the next course of action.