“Dairy Cooperatives Have Ensured Inclusive Involvement of All Sections of the Milk Producing Community”

Dr. D.K. SHARMA - General Manager-NDDB

Indian Dairy has transformed from stagnation to world leadership. NDDB has developed several innovations that enhance nutrition directly and by improving digestibility and palatability, along with supporting animal nutrition.

In an interview with Dr. D.K. SHARMA- General Manager-NDDB (Quality Assurance and Product &Process Development), Sagrika Sanjay from FMT-INDIA interacted for a better understanding.

What is the role of NDDB? What challenges and constraints does the milk processing industry face?

The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has been constituted as a body corporate and declared an institution of national importance by an Act of India’s Parliament. NDDB’s creation is rooted in the conviction that our nation’s socio-economic progress lies largely on the development of rural India. NDDB was created to promote, finance and technical managerial support to producer-owned and controlled organisations. NDDB’s programmes and activities seek to strengthen farmer cooperatives and support national policies that are favourable to the growth of such institutions. Fundamental to NDDB’s efforts are cooperative principles and cooperative strategies.

In India, the challenge is to maintain the cold chain from the farm to consumer (at the farm during transport and in the retail outlets). The food market is undergoing change due to increase in disposable incomes. Life expectancy in the country has also increased. Now greater automation in manufacturing is essential to meet the requirement for indigenous products.

Is our milk and milk products at par with international standards? At NDDB, what measure do you take to match up to the International standards?

Compositionally the Indian milk and milk products are at par with the International Standards. Milk being highly perishable, NDDB introduced/supported cooling of milk at farm level in early 2000s through the Perspective Plan. This was meant to control the growth of microbes for preventing spoilage (curdling and sourage). NDDB’s nationwide Clean Milk Programme (CMP), which started in 2000, continues to educate the farmer members of Cooperatives to improve the handling/storage of milk.

According to reports the milk output has risen to 19% and dairy farmers’ income is up by 24% in 2014-17. How much has NDBB contributed to this factor?

Our smallholder milk producers have together contributed to make India the world’s top milk producer. And all this success did not come overnight but through determined efforts of the rural milk producers, aided by committed professionals and expertise of the NDDB. As a result of the sustained efforts of dairy cooperatives guided by NDDB, India’s dairy sector succeeded in maintaining a steady growth.

For Example, Five Producer Companies viz., Gujarat (Maahi), Rajasthan (Paayas), Punjab (Baani), Uttar Pradesh (Saahaj) and AndhraPradesh (Sreeja) were formed. These PCs together procures about 20 lakh kilograms of milk daily from about 3.5 lakh members. WAMUL procured about 26 thousand kg of milk per day from 4500 members in 182 villages in 2016-17. In 2016-17, JMF procured about 68 thousand kg of milk daily from about 15 thousand members in about 1500 villages.

Use of automation and artificial intelligence is increasing in food processing.

In this light, how is NDDB preparing itself?

NDDB has been promoting latest cost effective technologies to improve efficiency. The greater focus is on the adaptation of such technologies at the rural level. The use of farm cooling technologies (Bulk Milk Cooler), automated milk collection equipment, use of solar power for the operations of equipment at the village DCS, etc. being some of the examples of adaptation of technology promoted by NDDB. NDDB takes pride in developing an affordable electronic milk fat testing machine (commonly known as the EMT – electronic milk tester) in collaboration with FOSS Denmark in the early 80’s. The equipment is a workhorse and continues to be in use even after three decades.

How does harnessing IT to the rural segment will aid the farmers in reducing input costs, and improve milk yield?

The NDDB has developed easy to use software INAPH (Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health). It is a desk top/android based application. The farmer has to get the animal ear tagged and register with the application and he gets real time information on the breeding, health and nutritional status of the animal at the door step. The effort of NDDB is aimed at reducing input costs and improving the milk yield for the farmer.

“NDDB’s Quality Mark will provide dairy cooperatives and producer institutions the much-needed brand identity and a competitive edge” stated by NDDB – What is its significance and how are you creating awareness to consumers?

The Quality Mark is significant in a way that it aims at bringing about a process improvement in the entire value chain from producer to the consumer. The evaluation rests on confirming to 100% of the mfactors critical to the safety of the processed milk and milk products. The quality mark also emphasises the user mdairy’s commitment to quality. The Quality Mark awardee unit can print the logo, which is registered under the Trade Marks Act 1999, on its pack and or salesm outlets/booths, etc for the purpose of creating awareness on the mark. The awardee units / NDDB will also advertise in print media or electronic media about the Quality Mark from time to time.

“India estimated milk demand to be about 155mn tonnes by 2016-17- NDDB”. Have we met this target as we are nearing to the end of 2017?

Yes, against the estimated demand of 155 million tonnes by 2016-17, country’s milk production has reached to 163.7 million tonnes in 2016-17. Considering negligible share of India in international dairy commodities’ trade, it is implicit that the domestic production volume has been sufficient enough to fulfill country’s demand for milk and milk based products, which is rising with higher urbanisation and higher income levels.

Establishing an analytical lab having capabilities for chemical and microbiological analysis of food, feed, and food & feed ingredients is one of the important factors in dairy industry. Throw some light on this.

Analytics is dynamic in nature, which undergoes changes with the growth in the knowledge of the subject matter. Therefore it is of outmost importance that the analytical laboratory has appropriate human and machine capability and competence or has a skill development plan in place to be able to analyse qualitatively/ quantitatively the molecules / microbes under investigation. Foods being a complex system every dairy laboratory cannot be equipped to carry out all the tests, hence third party laboratories play an important role. NDDB has a state-of-the-art laboratory, Centre for Analysis and Learning in Livestock and Food (CALF) where feed and food ingredients are analysed at affordable charges. This laboratory has been in existence since 2009.

Genetic disorders of animals can degrade the milk quality. What checks prevail at NDDB to fight this problem? Explain the role of NDDB in using a diet advisory for animal though software?

The compositional quality of milk is influenced by various factors viz., the breed, the age of lactation, feeding practices, the species. The genetic advantage is being used to improve the milk yield. NDDB has created semen stations to produce semen of pedigreed bulls that is used for insemination for improving the milk yield of the progeny. Feeding plays an important role in animal productivity and health. The software developed by the NDDB helps the farmer to judiciously use the feed ingredients available with him; and add the various other important ingredients (composite cattle feed and mineral mixture) in right proportions to create a balanced diet for the animal.

It is widely recognised that unique bioprotective factors present in milk such as immunoglobulin, lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, lysozyme, vitamin binding proteins, etc. play an important extra-nutritional role. What is your thought on strengthening of the process industry?

The functionally and physiologically active bio-peptides are either present or produced during gastro intestinal digestion and fermentation of foods. Milk has some unique bio-active peptides that exhibit a wide variety of physiological functions. Increased life expectancy and lifestyle changes are the major influencing factors that will emphasise the demand for special nutraceutical or foods for special dietary requirements. Therefore there is a need for conducting research and to simplify the production methods on a commercial scale using a mix of hydrolysis, ion-exchange, ultrafiltration, membrane filtration or immobilised process techniques etc.

Explain the role of NDBB towards dairy cooperatives and empowerment of women in the dairy sector.

Dairy cooperatives have ensured inclusive involvement of all sections of the milk producing community. The cooperatives have 4.8 million women members at present which constitutes about 30% of the total members of the dairy cooperative societies. There are programmes to prepare women for governance and leadership roles in their cooperatives. Of the total women members, about 2.4 lakhs have emerged as elected leaders in the Management Committees of their village dairy cooperatives and around 230 of them have risen to be elected on the Boards of their district milk unions.

Around 25,000 Societies are exclusive women dairy cooperative societies. Further, two Milk Unions, viz., Ichhamati Cooperative Milk Union in West Bengal and Mulukanoor Women’s Mutually Aided Milk Producers Cooperative Union in Telengana have evolved as all women cooperative dairies – completely managed and governed by them. The dream of women empowerment was envisaged way back in 1995 by the Dairy Board which initiated “Women Dairy Cooperative Leadership Programme” (WDCLP) on a pilot basis in Valsad, Kolhapur, Wayanad and Goa in Western India. The success of this programme has led to its replication in other Unions throughout the country. Specific activities like focus on enhancing leadership skills of women, promoting thrift and credit groups as well as health, education and economic activities also have contributed largely to women empowerment.

Focus on Women under NDP-I:

NDP-I focuses on greater participation of women as producer members as well as in governance of village level institutions. In all the approved projects the target set is a minimum of 30% women producer members. The project also has provision for Lady Extension officer for each EIA to ensure the participation of women and to convey the message of institutional values and CMP.

Women institutions are also supported under NDP-I through various capacity building programmes which helps them in running the milk procurement institutions themselves.

Share Button

Webmaster LBA

Food Marketing & Technology is a monthly magazine published by L.B. Associates Pvt Ltd

Comments are closed