At the outset I would like to invite all of you to visit us at the World Dairy Summit at Noida Expo Center , Greater Noida from 12th to 15th 2022 in Hall no 3, stall no 67.
We are very excited while participating in this one of the largest dairy events in the world.
World Dairy Summit is just a week away from now. This is a flagship event of the International Dairy Federation (IDF). The International Dairy Federation (IDF) was founded in Belgium at the 1st International Dairy Congress on 8-11 September 1903.
This time this annual meeting is happening after a gap of two years due to Covid. In 1999, following the Strategic Review, new IDF governing bodies were created to align and guide IDF work. After almost 100 years and events around the world (and spanning two World Wars) IDF held its first World Dairy Summit, which ultimately replaced IDF Annual Sessions and International Dairy Congresses in 1999. The IDF World Dairy Summit remains the world’s leading dairy event to this day.
First IDF annual session event in India
In 1974, Nineteenth International dairy congress by IDF was held in India. It had a theme of “Dairying as an instrument of change “. Government of India released a 25 paisa stamp on Dec 2, 1974 to mark the commencement of International Dairy Congress.
1974 was the time when Phase I of operation flood was under implementation in India. It was financed by the sale of skimmed milk powder and butter oil gifted by the European Union then EEC. It was done through the World Food Program. Operation Flood -I linked 18 of India’s premier milk sheds with consumers in India’s four major metropolitan cities.
The total milk production at that time was 23.2 Mill MT that was almost 9-10% of current milk production. The CAGR of milk production was around 1.63% from 1960-1973 and the daily per capita milk availability was close to 150 grams as compared to around 420 grams today.
During the last five decades India’s share in global milk production rose from 5% in 1970 to 23% in 2021. We can see that almost everything grew in the last 48-years since the last IDF event took place in India.
Malnutrition and hunger in India
Let us look at the impact of such growth on the nutritional footprint of India. The story is not as impressive there. As per a research conducted by Down to earth. “Child malnutrition is a chronic problem and a longstanding challenge for the public administration of India. The first National Family Health Survey (NFHS) in 1992-1993 found that India was one of the worst performing countries on child health indicators.”
The survey reported that more than half the children under four were underweight and stunted. One in every six children was excessively thin (wasted). All these conditions could be attributed to the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children.
Despite decades of investment to tackle this malaise; India’s child malnutrition rates are still one of the most alarming in the world. The Global Hunger Index (2020) — which is calculated on the basis of total undernourishment of the population, child stunting, wasting and child mortality — places India at the 94th spot among 107 countries. Countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan have been ranked higher than India on the Global Hunger Index at 64th, 73th, 75th, 78th and 88th spots respectively.
In 2021 this rank touched the century mark in a list of 116 countries.
The Economics of malnutrition
The status of malnutrition and its consequences can be partly attributed to the inadequate political focus. Mainly on budgetary allocation made to tackle this issue.
Studies reveal that India loses up to 4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and up to 8 percent of its productivity due to child malnutrition.
In the current scenario we may be feeling proud of our achievements in increasing the milk production. Or developing the infrastructure of milk collection and processing and capturing a quarter share of world milk production. The reality is that we are unable to improve upon the state of deprived populations . Especially vulnerable groups of mother and child in the first 1000 days of life.
Poverty is a definition only
India is improving in percentages but absolute numbers are not changing and are the hard reality of today. The size of population under the poverty line in 1974 was 321 million as 54% of our population. The size of the population of the poor in India is estimated to be between 270 million to 350 million currently at around 20-26% depending upon the measure of poverty.
Dairy for Nutrition and Livelihood
The purpose of this steadfast diligence at this moment is just to congratulate the organizers of WDS 2022. They have chosen the most apt topic of Dairy for Nutrition and Livelihood. Milk and milk products are synonymous with nutrition and good health since ages. Milk is a near complete food and rich source of important nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in biologically available form. The nutritional supremacy of milk is an ever-evolving phenomenon. Dairying provides livelihood and economic resilience to millions of people across the world through large dairy farms as well as smallholder systems. The role of dairying in ensuring food and nutritional security is evident. Thus, there is an increasing need amongst the policy makers to view dairying as the nucleus of many allied activities and their positive impact on society.
I hope that this summit will address the issues behind the inability of the largest milk producer of the world to keep its children well nourished and enjoying nutritional benefits of milk. I also wish all the speakers and panelists to share the insights and impact studies so as to bring a paradigm shift in Indian dairying.