Will India Import Dairy Products?

Will India Import Dairy Products?

Will India consider importing dairy products as demand continues to rise? Let’s find out.

Recently, the dairy industry in India has been buzzing with a news report claiming that the government may have to import dairy products to meet the rising demand during summer. The news has sent shockwaves through the dairy farming community, and there were rising concerns about the same. 

It has also raised eyebrows about why a country that leads the world in milk production would need to import dairy products. However, amidst the mounting speculation, the Central Government has issued a statement clarifying that the rumours are entirely baseless and that there are no plans to import any dairy products.  

What’s Happening?

An age-old saying is, ‘There is no smoke without fire’. This means that rumours often have some basis in truth, which we also saw in this situation. 

After the rumour of milk import surfaced, the Animal Husbandry and Dairy Secretary, Rajesh Kumar Singh, disclosed that nearly 1.89 lakh cattle had died of lumpy skin disease in the previous year, causing a significant loss to the country’s dairy industry. Adding to the challenges, the industry also faced weather-related issues and a shortage of affordable fodder. Despite these obstacles, domestic demand for dairy products surged by 8-10%, creating a complex situation for the industry. 

He further revealed that the milk supply in the country is not a cause for concern as there is sufficient stock of Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP). However, there is a shortage of dairy products, particularly fat, butter, and ghee, which has resulted in a tight supply situation. The government is monitoring the stock position of milk in the southern states and will consider importing dairy products if necessary.

Despite being the world’s largest milk producer, India struggles to keep up with the increasing demand for dairy products. The country produced 221 million tonnes of milk in 2021-22, a 6.25% increase from the previous year. However, this production figure falls short of the country’s rising demand for dairy products. As a result, milk prices have surged by 15% over the past year, indicating a growing imbalance between supply and demand. 

Why Are Milk Prices Rising?

Dairy companies across the country report that they have been forced to increase milk prices due to the shortage of fodder and rising costs. However, the primary reason for the price increase is the rising demand for milk. According to a BBC report, India is responsible for 23% of the world’s milk production. While the pandemic has driven up demand for milk globally, production has remained stagnant.

What Will Happen if We Import Milk?

Opposition parties have raised concerns that importing dairy products would have a detrimental effect on the income of domestic milk producers. The dairy sector in India is slowly recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and any decision to import dairy products could disrupt the sector’s revival.

What’s Next?

In response to these concerns, the central government has issued a statement clarifying that the reports of dairy product imports are misleading. 

The Animal Husbandry and Dairy Secretary, Rajesh Kumar Singh, has emphasised that the interests of dairy producers are always kept in mind while taking policy decisions and that dairy products will not be imported. He also explained that the effect of the lumpy disease could be seen on milk production, which is expected to either remain stable or grow at a rate of 1-2% in 2022-23, as compared to the normal annual growth rate of 6%.

Experts believe milk production is expected to remain stable this year, so any significant reduction in milk and dairy product prices is unlikely.

That’s it for today. We hope you’ve found this article informative. Remember to spread the word among your friends. Until we meet again, stay curious!

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