Second White Revolution: Changing Paradigm of Dairying from Subsidiary to Mainstream Occupation
Since fifteen years, India has continued to be the highest milk producing nation in the world. This was all possible due to white revolution which turned India from a milk deficit country to a sufficient one. But the thing that starts has an end to it too. Even today dairying is considered to be a subsidiary activity in India and the productivity per animal is not much impressing in the country. If this scenario continues then there are chances that India will lose its position. This gives warning bells for the Second White Revolution which will bridge the gap that was not covered under operation flood. In order to actualize and implement second white revolution it is crucial that a framework needs to be designed to change the paradigm of dairying from “subsidiary” occupation to “mainstream” activity.
Priyanka Lal*, Milan Kumar Lal***, Binita Kumari*, Priyanka Singh** *Research Scholar, ICAR-NDRI, Karnal **Research Scholar, PAU, Ludhiana *** Research Scholar, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi Keywords: Second White Revolution
About fifteen years ago, India secured a historic position to be the highest milk producing nation in the world. It is still successful in retaining that position and even progressing well in the dairy sector. This transformation of India from milk deficient country to a milk sufficient country was all possible due to a development programme called operation flood, which is also addressed as white revolution. Since then India has never looked back and has kept progressing. The ‘Amul Model’ is acclaimed in the world as the best model for dairying by small and marginal farmers. It empowers the farmers socially, politically and economically. But everything that starts has an end to it. Inspite of the fact that India ranks first in milk production but the productivity of animals is far from satisfactory.
Even today dairying is considered to be a subsidiary activity in India. It is quite prevalent in the rural areas that farmers besides doing farming keep 2-3 milch animals as their secondary source of income. If this scenario continues then there is a chance of losing the top position in the world. Eighty per cent of Indian cattle is owned by farmers with a herd size of up to four animals which can be categorized as small farmers who are poor. Also, the main feed for the animals are the agricultural waste. These reasons lead to the poor productivity of animals. Henceforth, there is an urgent need to make dairying more profitable. Here, second revolution can come to its rescue. At this point where dairy is still considered as a subsidiary activity characterized by stagnant yield, rising feed and fodder costs and shift in rural areas towards other vocations, it is very important for the government to come up with a structured plan for second white revolution. Looking to the other side of the coin of the dairy sector parallel to the supply side challenges, India is slated to witness a boom in dairy demand of over 6 per cent annually. However, the average annual growth in supply is only a little over 4 per cent per annum. The widening demand–supply gap of milk has placed us at a knife edge where the need for the Second White Revolution is greatly necessitated.
Some of the key bottle-necks hindering growth in milk production:
•Rapidly shrinking and degrading grazing areas resulting in shortage of green fodder.
•Increasing feed prices resulting into use of low-quality feed.
•Low technology-based system of production in rural areas.
•Rise in heat stress among cattle on account of global warming resulting in loss of close to two per cent of total milk production.
Therefore, second white revolution is the only way out to combat such problems. In order to actualize and implement second white revolution it is crucial that a framework needs to be designed to change the paradigm of dairying from “subsidiary” occupation to “mainstream” activity. Different steps need to considered, like greater emphasis needs to be on achieving economies of scale and continuous yield improvements. This would need conceptualisation and implementation of new production models that would inculcate the following requirements of high-tech dairying:
•Mechanisation and automation of dairy farms.
•Sustainable measures to provide better quality feed and fodder through developing technologies that increase productivity of crops in rain-fed areas.
•Provision of improved seed varieties for fodder cultivation.
•Maximisation of environmental benefits through adoption of green energy measures such as re-utilisation and effective disposal of manure.
•Encouragement in establishment of community-based high herd size farms which would ensure investment in scale-up thus improving dairy management systems.
Certain challenges for second white revolution:
•Low corporate participation in the production sector which could otherwise bring in the innovation and boost milk production.
•Higher costs for provision of specialised input services such as vaccinations and medicines which overshoot the advantages offered by low-labour costs.
Therefore, in order to actualize the dream of Second white revolution actions steps and challenges has to be made concrete and the traditional view of dairying as a subsidiary occupation must be eliminated. A second white revolution is achievable through strengthening the supply-driven technologies which are sustainable, scalable and profitable. Not only this if dairying is turned to be the main occupation than half of the problems will be solved and India will enjoy the same top most position in the world. This would also require development of innovative and implementable production models that are futuristic, and have a long term vision of producing more milk per cow so as to ensure a milk secure India.