Challenges in Adoption of Modern Technology at Rural Dairy Households in India

Challenges in Adoption of Modern Technology at Rural Dairy Households in India
Challenges in Adoption of Modern Technology at Rural Dairy Households in India

Milk is the largest contributor towards India’s Gross National Product. India has 70 million rural families with holdings of 2-4 cattle engaged in milk production. This is in contrast to the specialized dairy farmers in the western countries, where a much smaller section of the population is engaged in milk production activity with large cattle holdings. About 70% of the dairy farmers in India are marginal farmers who own 2-3 dairy cows.

The pedometer which detects heat and various disorders are based on their activities and their resting behaviour in the cattle. The application gives recommendations to optimize herd performance and management. Preventive healthcare reduces health expenses in the farm. This includes monitoring by live animal activity tracking, lameness detection, timely preventive health checkup, vaccination and deworming alert. Reduced intercalving period can be achieved by heat detection for on time artificial insemination and real-time alerts to veterinarians and paravets for AI, pregnancy diagnosis test, etc. Enhanced milk quality and yield, technology optimization using nutrition plans based on breed, stage in life cycle, milk quality and yields and better farm management are essential. This is achieved using real-time alerts on animal activities, personalized contextual sachet nutrition advisory and cattle historical data management. Attractive insurance products are used. The dairy insurance packages and reduced cattle insurance premium is used for better performing farmers.

Socio-economic challenges for adoption of technology 

It has been observed that all the commercial dairy farmers get the training in dairy farming either from the state Dairy Development Board or the state agricultural universities before they enter into profession. It may be due to two reasons; first a good practical training and experience in dairy farming will be highly desirable and secondly training is mandatory to get subsidized loan to set up a commercial dairy farm. Constraints in adoption of breeding practices due to low level of education, inadequate facilities of AI centre, high prices of the imported semen straw, unsatisfactory results of AI, lack of staff at Government hospitals and inexperienced staff at AI centres seem to be the major challenges in the adoption of technology needed.

Constraints in adoption of good technology while feeding practices, high price of concentrate mixture, non-availability of input for production and enrichment of green fodder, non-availability of concentrates and mineral mixture in villages, constraints in adoption of housing practices, increased manpower, lack of training, lack of capital, high cost of construction, lack of sufficient floor space for bringing in new technology to the farm,  inconvenience practice pose major constraints in adoption of milking practices. There is a need to educate the farmers about enrichment of fodder as well as balanced and economical feed preparation. The reasons for low adoption of improved housing practices for dairy farming were lack of capital followed by high cost of construction and lack of sufficient space. High capital demand is a major constraint in adoption of modern housing practices. Low knowledge level, high cost of construction and lack of sufficient space were main constraints in adoption of improved housing practices. High capital and high cost of construction are always an issue for farmers when they want to start a dairy as enterprise.

Durability of technology

Adoption of new technologies and computerization to determine fat content, SNF, and to detect adulteration will help in creation of data banks could be the latest challenge. If adopted, it will enhance farmers’ confidence in federalism and minimize overhead expenses and help in quality control. Flow of information will be quicker for the benefit of farmers. A recent report on crisis of India’s dairy sector speaks, a stable market, availability of resources, better pricing, repair facility of the technology and uninterrupted supply of feed and reliable veterinary services will pave a way to meet the challenges in Indian dairy sector. Undoubtedly the numbers of dairy farmers are reducing with increasing innovation and shifting to industrialization. Dr. Verghese Kurien stressed upon the fact that we must share risks as well as rewards and we must be willing to finance the investments necessary to build international markets.  

Way forward

Inadequate facilities of AI centres, high price of concentrate mixture, lack of capital for housing, low economic gains and non-availability of adequate veterinary services were major stumbling block in adoption of the improved breeding, feeding, housing, milking and health care practices, respectively. There is dire need to frame policy at government level to remove bottlenecks faced by commercial dairy farmers in order to adopt dairy as entrepreneurship. For the Indian dairy industry, efforts need to be directed to accelerating the pace of application and adoption of modern technologies to improving productivity, and to reducing costs of operations and ensure greater availability of milk and milk products.

To attain this, national development programs need to be tailed with state Governments programmes on animal husbandry and dairying, poverty alleviation programmes, R&D strategies, agricultural universities and other developmental agencies. Infrastructure needs to be strengthened for the improvement of milch breeds of cattle and buffaloes in context with the 14 agro-climatic zones of the country. Intensive financial and scientific inputs are needed to mechanize the processes for the manufacture of indigenous milk products. There is a huge scope for the development of a new range of dairy products to meet the needs of the urban consumer for health, safety, convenience and shelf-life.


Dr. Smruti Smita Mohapatra and Dr. J. B. Prajapati 

Mohapatra is the Research Fellow and Prajapati is the Chairperson of  Verghese Kurien Centre of Excellence, IRMA 

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