World Milk Day amid Covid-19 lockdown

By: Dr Nazir Ahmed and Dr Maria Abbas

World Milk Day was first designated by the FAO in 2001. The first World Milk Day was celebrated twenty years ago in 2001 under Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Since then, this day is celebrated every year globally on June 1st as an “World Milk Day”. The aim is to educate people about the importance of milk in our life and society. The theme for Milk day 2020 is “20th Anniversary of World Milk Day”.

The white revolution also known as Operation Flood was launched in 1970. It is considered the worlds biggest dairy development programme which transformed India from a milk deficient nation to the one of the largest producer of milk in the world. According to the current data, India is the world’s largest milk producer and ranks first in milk production in the world with 22 percent of global production, followed by the United States of America, China, Pakistan and Brazil. 

India produced 177 million tonnes of milk in 2019-2020 with an average annual growth rate of 4.5 percent. Uttar Pradesh is the highest milk producing state in India and holds a share of more than 17% in the total milk production in India. The per capita availability of milk in India is 337 gram/day as compared to average world per capita availability of 229 gram/day. Punjab is having highest per capita milk availability in the country at 1,181 gm per day.

As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned it is producing 70 lakh liters of milk per day, in which Kashmir alone produces 40 lakh liters while Jammu produces 30 lakh liters. The contribution of Jammu and Kashmir union territory in milk production of the country is 1.60%. The per capita availability of milk in the state is 363 grams per head per day and ranked 4th in Indian union. In Jammu and Kashmir, district Pulwama leads in  milk  production and is rightly called as “Anand of Kashmir” for achieving record milk production of more than 7.50 lac litres per day.

The Indian dairy market is amongst the largest and fastest growing markets in the world. Milk has highest value in Indian agri and food sector. Milk contributes close to the 1/3rd of gross income of rural households. The livestock sector contributes to 4% of India’s GDP and the dairy sector comprises majority of share. It provides employment to 8.47 million people on yearly basis out of which 71% are women. Jobs in indian dairy industry are mainly in the fields of production and processing of dairy products.More than one billion people’s livelihoods are supported by the dairy sector and that dairy is consumed by more than six billion people globally.

As we all knows that milk is rightly called as complete food as it  has always been a healthy drink because of the high range of nutrients in it. Milk is a staple part of Indian diet.It contains  important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, potassium and vitamin D and  is an excellent source of  complete protein. It  acts as the primary source of nutrition before infant mammals can digest any other types of food.

Drinking milk and dairy products may prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures.Kids should consume full fat milk to get all nutrients essential for optimum growth.  Milk is highly perishable therefore value addition such as processing, packaging, and conversion to long life products, such as sterilized milks (UHT), dahi, paneer, chhachh, lassi, shrikhand and so on is important in this sector.

Due to COVID-19, this sector is also affected like other sectors. Milk industries had great loss. Although it is considered under essential services so the home delivery has not  much effected in cities but in rural areas the supply chain has been  disrupted by lockdown. There is closure of hotels, restaurants, sweet shops, processing industries and tea shops, which ultimately is disturbing the milk supply chain and its sales. There is need to educate people regarding safe hygiene milk production and consumption.

Milk is a food that is cherished worldwide and thus the main purpose of celebrating this day is to recognize the importance of milk as a global food. The day is intended to provide an opportunity to bring attention to activities that are related to milk, dairy sector and milk producing industries around the world. The day provides an opportunity to focus attention on milk and raise awareness of dairy’s part in healthy diets, responsible food production and supporting livelihoods.

The writers are Scientist Animal Science-KVK-Budgam, SKUAST-Kashmir and Block Technology Manager- ATMA-Srinagar

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