The Caribbean dairy industry can benefit from India's successes
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Aneja. 1993. The Caribbean dairy industry can benefit from India's successes. Spore 45. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49135
Dr Aneja is a dairy technologist. He was one of those responsible for planning and implementing the world`s largest dairy development project 'Operation Flood' in India. He is currently seeing up an Institute of Rural Management in New Delhi. Dr...
Dr Aneja is a dairy technologist. He was one of those responsible for planning and implementing the world`s largest dairy development project 'Operation Flood' in India. He is currently seeing up an Institute of Rural Management in New Delhi. Dr Aneja is the Secretary of the Indian National Committee of the International Dairy Federation. As a result of an extensive development programme in the dairy sector, milk production in India has almost tripled in the space of about twenty years, rising from 20 million tonnes in 1970 to almost 60 million tonnes today. The countries of the Caribbean, which have good potential for milk production, could learn from this example. The Caribbean region, with its population of 35 million people, is one of the world's largest markets for milk and milk products. It consumes about 20-25% of the world exports of dairy products. Local production accounts for only 60% of the available dairy products in the region. Milk prices paid by the consumers in the region, about US$ 1 per litre, are among the highest in the world. The farm gate prices of about US$.25c per litre are much lower than prices paid to the milk producers in the EC or in North America. The per capita consumption of milk in the region at 60kg per annum is about the same as in India, which has a third of the per capita income of most countries in the Caribbean. In India, milk production is an integral part of foodgrains production, with the crop residues providing the major source of roughage for cattle and buffaloes. As a result of a massive dairy development programme, India's milk production has nearly tripled over the past 20 years, increasing from 20 million tonnes in 1970 to nearly 60 million tonnes now. The dairy cooperative programme in India has organized seven million milk producers, consisting mainly of small and marginal farmers, into viable dairy cooperatives. These cooperatives collect farmers' milk in small quantities, averaging about 2-3 litres per day, and pay the farmers on the spot for their milk. The cooperatives carry out nearly 7 million measurements of milk both in the morning and in the evening and make as many payments for milk both in the morning and in the evening. This is done after testing every supply of milk even if it is only about a litre at the time of collection. This has ensured a reliable, remunerative market for the rurally produced milk, encouraging further investments by the farmers in increasing their milk production. Such a system has also stimulated an uptake of inputs like Al services, veterinary services and the provision of balanced cattle feed to supplement crop residues for increasing milk production. There is a tremendous opportunity to increase milk production in the Caribbean by providing better prices to the milk producers. Producers in Jamaica receive only a quarter of the price charged to consumers for their milk and milk products, whereas in India producers receive about two-thirds. Economies of scale have helped Indian cooperatives pay a much larger share of the consumer's rupee to the milk producers. These economies of scale already exist in some cases in the Caribbean, as multinationals are operating large dairy plants in these countries. Some of these plants get only about 10% of their milk from local sources and the remaining quantities come from imports. These imports have denied local farmers the opportunities that exist for increasing their incomes. Many farmers in the Caribbean grow grass, as it is immune to theft. The cultivation of grains, and feeding animals crop residues like maize and millet stover and wheat straw, is worth trying. This would also reduce the dependence of the region on imports of foodgrains. The region already has a first-rate breed of cattle in the Jamaica Hope, which is resistant to diseases and is well-suited to the region. Small producer-based dairying has already been successfully demonstrated in the Serge Islands. The prosperity that has been brought to the small producers in that area is indeed remarkable and worth emulating in other areas of the region. One of the major deterrents to the development of dairying in the region is the legal framework, which prevents farmers from selling unpasteurized milk. This is copying the West, and it has severely limited the marketing channels for producers' milk, particularly from the small and marginal farmers. No such rule exists in India and that gives more power to the farmers. The costs of collecting milk in the region is fairly high. This would call for innovative processing of milk and its conversion into value-added products like cheese, yoghurt, etc. There is a large demand for these products in the region, which is known the world over to attract a very large number of tourists. The floating population in this region provides a tremendous market which can be exploited to improve the incomes of local farmers. There is a case here for a South-South dialogue. Imaginative planning, together with a policy framework which will lead to an optimal use of natural resources, will be needed if the Caribbean region is to realize its milk production potential. Such planning must be based largely on a willingness to increase producer prices, the encouragement of import substitution and the introduction of new processing technologies in the dairy industry. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CTA.