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India is the world’s largest producer of milk but the country cannot export its surplus as Indian milk does not fulfil the international food quality standard. Though India exports few dairy products to certain countries, the liquid (raw) milk has so far not been able to get global market access.
This concern will be one of the key issues of discussions at the World Dairy Summit  which is to be held in Greater Noida during September 12-15 when India would showcase its dairy products and its adherence to quality norms protocol for liquid milk. Besides, India would also try to impress upon the participants as to why the ‘milk and dairy’ products should not be included in any free trade agreements (FTA) with a country or geographical grouping.
“There are many factors which are taken into consideration while granting market access. The World Organisation for Animal Health  governs this issue and lays down protocol for export. We meet those standards for certain dairy products but not for liquid milk due to issues around ‘foot and mouth disease’ (FMD) in cattle,” said Atul Chaturvedi , secretary, animal husbandry and dairying, while sharing details of the Summit.
He said the country has been trying to resolve such issues and the Summit   will provide an opportunity to showcase Indian products to global stakeholders. “We have a target to deal with FMD through vaccination by 2025 and make India FMD free by 2030. We have been working on it through a dedicated programme of vaccination across the country,” said Chaturvedi.
The FMD is very common amongst livestock such as cows, bulls, buffaloes, sheep and goats. It is a highly contagious viral disease that deeply affects the production of livestock. This disease has a direct negative impact on the trade of milk and other livestock products.
Dairy is the single largest agricultural commodity contributing 5% of the national economy and employing more than 8 crore farmers directly in India. The country being the world’s largest milk producer contributes 23% of global milk production. Milk production in India has grown at a compound annual growth rate of about 6.2% to reach 210 million tonnes in 2020-21 from 146 million tonnes in 2014-15.
Approximately 1,500 dairy sector stakeholders from over 40 milk-producing countries are expected to attend the Summit which will be held in India after a gap of 48 years. “Dairy for nutrition and livelihood” will be the theme of the Summit which will be organised by the International Dairy Federation (IDF) in association with India’s National Dairy Development Board .
Responding to a question on FTA during a press conference on the Summit, junior animal husbandry and dairying minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan  said, “Our ministry wants that milk and dairy products should not be included in the FTA.”
On the issue of increasing input cost of milk production, the minister said though the milk prices should rise for the benefit of dairy farmers, there is also a need to protect consumers’ interest.
The World Dairy Summit is considered an effective way of gaining global exposure for the Indian industry which will attract attention towards the smallholder milk production system of India. It will provide a forum to industry experts to share knowledge and ideas on how the sector can contribute to nourishing the world with safe and sustainable dairying.
Speaking on significance of hosting the Summit in India, Meenesh Shah, chairman, NDDB and member secretary of Indian National Committee of IDF, said, “The dairy sector is the most important sector to boost the rural economy of India as it provides income opportunities to about eight crore farmers and that’s the Summit is significant to the stakeholders in India.”

Source : Times of India May 17 2022

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