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"India has Ample Opportunities for Innovation in Dairy Sector," Meenesh Shah, Chairman of NDDB

At the Science & Innovation Forum 2022 hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome, Italy, Meenesh Shah, Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), presented India's smallholder dairying system to international experts.

Shruti Kandwal
NDDB Chairman said that India produces 23% of the world's milk production, with a 6% yearly growth rate.
NDDB Chairman said that India produces 23% of the world's milk production, with a 6% yearly growth rate.

The Director of the Animal Production and Health Division (NSA), Thanawat Tiensin, and the Chairman of the NDDB met with the Deputy Director-Generals of the FAO, Beth Bechdol and Maria Helena Semedo, on the sidelines of the World Food Forum. 

The two discussed about the Indian smallholder farming system, sustainable livestock production systems, and innovations. Opportunities for collaboration on dairy development were highlighted during the sessions, and Shah suggested organizing an international symposium together as part of India's G20 chairmanship.

Shah spoke about "Technological innovation in support of small-scale dairy producers in India" during the session titled "Harnessing science and innovation for sustainable livestock sector transformation" and went into detail about India's transformation from a country with a shortage of milk to the top producer of milk in the world.

He said India produces 23% of the world's milk production, with a 6% yearly growth rate. These have been made possible by advancements in processes, technologies, science, and, most importantly, in unifying people to create a governance structure.

The National Digital Livestock Mission (NDLM), which has components like traceability, disease surveillance, and control programs, and Information Network for Animal Productivity & Health (INAPH), the national database in which over 230 million animals are registered, are two digital ecosystems that are emphasized, according to the chairman of the NDDB.

All eminent personalities together at the Science & Innovation Forum 2022
All eminent personalities together at the Science & Innovation Forum 2022

NDDB chairman further said that the manure (cattle dung) management initiatives being undertaken by NDDB with partner organizations have proven to be quite successful by way of providing cooking gas to meet the household needs, income from sale of bio-slurry, solid and liquid organic fertilisers improving soil fertility and at the same time reducing the Green House Gas emissions. This initiative is also being furthered by setting up large-scale bio gas plants which would meet the energy needs of the dairy plants.

During the panel discussion, Shah conveyed that there are ample opportunities for innovation in the dairy sector from improving the productivity of milch animals to improving the quality of milk & milk products & value addition which will benefit our small and marginal dairy farmers as well as consumers. He said that time has come to take the successes of laboratory to field and improve operational efficiency & reducing the impact of dairying on environment for which such cross-learning experiences and sharing platforms would be important for implementing best practices across the globe.

Other eminent people present at the forum included Thanawat Tiensin, Director, Animal Production and Health Division, FAO, Chandapiwa Marobela Raborokgwe, Director, National Veterinary Laboratory, Botswana, H.E. Carlos Cherniak, Permanent Representative of Argentina and Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture’s (COAG) Sub-Committee on Livestock, Halimatou Kone Traore, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mali to the FAO and Vice Chairperson of the COAG Sub-Committee on Livestock, Iain A Wright, Deputy Director General – Research and Development – Integrated Sciences, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Donald Moore, Executive Director, Global Dairy Platform. 

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