Which is India’s No. 1 ‘crop’? Is it rice? Or wheat? Well, neither. The right answer happens to be milk.
Milk is also India’s largest ‘crop’ with a farmgate value (output multiplied by average price realisation) higher than that for rice and wheat combined. The ‘milk group’ accounts for around 20% of the total value of output from agriculture and allied activities. Thus, almost one in every five rupees generated in India’s farm sector comes from dairying.
But despite all this and the fact that India is today the world’s largest milk producer, the dairy industry is for some strange reason not considered ‘glamourous’. For policy makers, dairying is viewed as a ‘subsidiary’ activity. This, when milk is one product that generates cash income to farmers almost on a daily basis, unlike sugarcane or wheat. Besides being a source of liquidity and insurance against crop failure, milk is the only crop where the farmer realizes 60-70 per cent of consumer price — against 20 per cent or so in fruits and vegetables.
One reason for this ‘image problem’ suffered by milk has to do with the absence of proper database with authentic information on the sector. This is a gap that Dairy India seeks to fill. The latest edition is the seventh, starting with the first one launched in 1983. Each edition takes several years of painstaking compilation in which eminent scientists as well as professionals in the public, cooperative and private sectors in India and abroad are involved.
A treasure trove of information, Dairy India offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date picture about the world’s numero uno dairying nation. An invaluable Databank-cum-Management Guide-cum-Directory-cum-Buyer’s Guide-cum-Who’s Who, it contains over 100 in-depth articles, 300 statistical tables and charts and reference details of over 7,000 organizations including dairy plants and farms, equipment and consumable manufacturers, cattle feed and veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturers, chemicals and food additives, project consultants, breeding and fodder seed farms, analytical and disease-diagnostic laboratories, cooperative institutions and government agencies.
The articles cover a range of topics including dairy industry profile, competitiveness of Indian dairying, milk production, procurement, processing and marketing, management of dairy plants and dairy farms, breeding, feeding & nutrition, health care, dairy technology, food safety and quality standards as well as techno-economic feasibility of small and large scale dairy farms and plants, cattle feed units, and manufacture of cheese, ice-cream, indigenous milk products etc.
Dairy India (Edition Seven) includes a special Chapter celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) with exclusive accounts from professionals involved in the planning of the Operation Flood project. The scope and coverage of the ‘Dairy Asia’ section has been expanded.
Dairy India has gained immensely from the cooperation of a large number of specialists and institutions in India and abroad. We are particularly appreciative of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the National Dairy Development Board, the National Dairy Research Institute, the Institute of Rural Management, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, the Central Statistical Office, as well as the State Departments of Animal Husbandry/Veterinary Services & Dairy Development, State Dairy Cooperative Federations, State Veterinary Science and Agricultural Universities and Colleges, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Livestock Research Institute, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and the International Dairy Federation.
Founded and conceived with the encouragement and support of Dr V. Kurien, the doyen of Indian dairying, by the late P.R. Gupta, a developmental journalist and passionate chronicler of the industry, Dairy India has evolved into one of the world’s most prestigious publications on dairying. Following his demise in January 2006, it is now jointly edited and published by his son, Sharad Gupta, and grandson, Vidur Gupta