Think India - Think Milk!

INDIA - Which is India's No. 1 crop? Is it rice? Or wheat? Well, neither. The right answer happens to be milk.
calendar icon 7 June 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
The country's milk production is estimated to have touched 100 million tonnes (mt) last year, which is higher than the estimated 92 mt for rice and 75 mt for wheat. In value terms, too, a kg of milk is worth more than what you and I pay for a kg of rice and wheat.

But despite all this and the fact that India is today the world's largest milk producer, the dairy industry is for some strange reason not considered 'glamourous'.

For policy makers, dairying is viewed as a 'subsidiary' activity. This, when milk is one product that generates cash income to farmers almost on a daily basis, unlike sugarcane or wheat.

Besides being a source of liquidity and insurance against crop failure, milk is the only crop where the farmer realizes 60-70 per cent of consumer price ? against 20 per cent or so in fruits and vegetables.

Again, it is striking that there are no commodity futures in milk powder or ghee, whereas the daily turnover volumes in NCDEX and MCX of guarseed, mentha oil, jeera or pepper run to hundreds (even thousands) of crores!

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