Today we all are celebrating Dussehra as victory of good over evil. The battle of Ram and Ravana is never ending. Ravana is considered evil in Indian mythology due to his actions. However, Ravana was very learned , brave and a magnificent ruler.

His ten heads actually symbolised his mastery over six shastras and four vedas. It was only his actions which changed the interpretation of his 10 heads to the following 10 traits. These are Kaam (lust), Krodh (wrath), Lobh (greed), Moh (obsession), Maatsarya (Envy), Mada (vanity), Jaddata (insensitive), and more.

Same is true with the Indian dairy industry. The turnaround or Ram-Rajya of the Indian dairy-industry began with the victory of Good over evil or Amul over Polson. The dairy industry is still struggling to get over the malignancy of 10 bad traits. These traits are prevailing across the dairy value chain and let us examine them from farm to table.

Milk procurement

1.     Contaminants in milk : Antibiotic residue and aflatoxins in milk are the most significant contaminants found in milk. Unavailability of Low cost rapid-testing-systems for these contaminants makes it very difficult to test each and every sample of milk. This is high time for India to use its cognitive capital to develop a sensor-based-technology to achieve low cost rapid-testing-solutions. The whole world has lauded the power of Indian scientists during Covid times . It is a time to use the same for the better good of the dairy sector.

2. Stray animals : There is no clarity on culling policy for unproductive, old and sick bovine cattle. This has led to growth of stray animals and they are disturbing the eco system badly in both rural and urban areas. In a country where feed and fodder availability is still a big challenge , the existence of such animals is putting a big question mark on the future of Indian dairy sector as well as sustainability of dairy farming.

3.     Adulteration : At the aggregator level there is a general tendency to adulterate this milk to increase volumes. Normally it happens in the unorganised sector. The purpose of adulteration is commercial as well as to extend the transit life of milk.

4.     Theft in transit : This happens in the organised sector with an established network of experts who break into tankers and replace some good quantities of milk with  water . These hot-spots are visible as suddenly you start getting pure-dairy Paneer, cheese-curd  and Khoa from these places at unbelievable prices.

Milk Processing

5.     Analogues : There has been a paradigm shift in framing and enforcement of regulations in case of analogues. Today it is very difficult to find pure dairy based Paneer, khoa, cheese and Ghee in Indian markets. As the majority of this market is unorganised so use of palm oil , soya proteins , sugar and modified starch with other chemicals is happening openly for making dairy products.

6. Pollution : Dairy sector is still avoiding installation and operation of Effluent treatment plants across dairy supply chain from collection to delivery. Either the plants are under designed or bypassed so as to save on a few penny and damage the environment in dollars.

7. Food safety : At the end this is an area which is the outcome of all the traits as mentioned above. The inability of the industry to follow Food safety in totality is the root cause for the regulator also to be in a better bargaining position. There has been remarkable improvements in most of the large dairies but still there is a long distance to travel.

Milk marketing

8.     Cold chain breach by channels : The channels themselves are a bigger threat to the quality of dairy products. They hardly maintain the cold chain and have a tendency to switch off the refrigerators at night.

9.     Tax theft : On one side the government is increasing GST on the dairy essential while on the other it is giving a bigger bargaining power to the dairy companies by not paying taxes. In case of ghee alone it may make one competitive by nearly Rs 60-70 per kgs if GST is evaded.

10.     Unorganised Sector : Unorganised sector without any identity is the laughing face of dairy Ravana today. They are free to do anything as per the situation to gain commercial benefits even at the cost of lives of human beings.

All these ten traits are as obvious as the ten heads of ravanas.

On this day of Dussehra I invite all stakeholders from the dairy industry to declare a war against these evils so as to become the milk pail of the world in the near future.

At the end I recall saying to all dairy startups in my program that the most difficult part in running a dairy business is to remain honest.

Source : A Dairy blog by Kuldeep Sharma Chief editor dairynews7x7 channel