Saturday, December 16, 2017

27 Dairy Pulse Dec (1-15)


Dear friends,

In last fortnight Indian dairy industry lost two of its very senior veterans . Mr S.K Dua ( NDRI 1963 batch) who served GSK for a long time at Nabha and Dr NR Bhasin who not only served Indian Dairy Association as President for last few terms but also acted as a true Dairy bureaucrat while serving RCDF. On behalf of team dairy pulse and dairy fraternity we pray for their soul to rest in peace.

The traction of demonetisation touched all spheres of life and as the days are passing by the unpreparedness of the system to handle the situation is getting unleashed. Indian dairy sector is probably at the highest level of financial inclusion when it comes to formal banking. Most of the cooperative organized sector are   making payments directly to the farmer's bank account. In current circumstances due to temporary restrictions on high value transaction of cash and transfers Kolhapur Union and a few others felt the problems of farmers not getting payments from their bank accounts or payment just not reaching their account at all. Though all of us are hoping that happy days are just two weeks away but still prolonging this status quo may get fatal for poor farmers and their families. I believe that the top dairy players must be in touch with appropriate authorities to find solution. Over here I feel the need of a central bank for taking care of agriculture banking and funding on the lines of Reserve bank of India. As Agriculture is a tax free activity so a separate institution to take care of their banking and investment needs may be more pervasive  and create a focussed inclusive finance solution to Indian farmers for their agricultural and livelihood related requirements. Current mainstream solutions have limitations of getting de-focussed and manipulative at times .If required the role of NABARD may be expanded to serve as a true Indian farmer's bank .

There is a good news for dairy entrepreneurs as Mudra loan facility is now extended to dairy sector also. This way the small entrepreneur could venture into dairy set up for primary production, cold chain or milk processing . It is a good move and will have long term consequence. There need to be a clearly defined space for dairy activities in Make in India and Start up India for bigger projects. As on date only food processing has been mentioned but authorities at times do not consider dairy processing under food processing. Indeed in one of the interesting case a few years back  we had to prove to sales tax authorities that milk is food to get certain exemption from the authorities. Unfortunately we could not prove it for a long time  because of lack of support from  Institutions and other departments.

FSSAI once again is in news for taking labeling on packed foods in India to next level . As per Sh Pawan Agarwal , CEO FSSAI "Our labelling provisions are currently under revision. We are looking at Codex norms. We are going beyond that to see our labelling norms are robust,"

Now we are heading for the end of the year. We shall be sharing  an annual soummary of dairy news with our next edition of dairy pulse which you would be receiving in 2017 now. Till then season's greeting and accept our sincere gratitude for  your  support and advise to make Dairy Pulse part of your fortnightly habit.

Happy e reading.

with best regards
Kuldeep Sharma
Chief Thinking Officer
Suruchi Consultants (ISO 9001:2008 Company)
C-49 Sector-65
Noida 201307

It has never been so serious before : Milk Strike (51st Dairy Pulse, 1 to 15 Dec, 2017)


Dear Friends,

Last fortnight ended up on an acrid note with numerous farmers unions in North India in UP region went on a day's long milk strike and also threatened those involved in sales and transportation of milk , on December 15th.Though no untoward incident was heard but the message got clear.

The farmers in other parts of the country are likely to follow the suit and may be soon we might see a nationwide strike by dairy farmers. On one hand it might bring a lot of loss to these farmers as well as national loss in terms of product loss while on the other hand , the plant owners as well as consumers might face some short supplies in this so called flush season.

Now who is to be blamed ? Farmers, processors, intermediaries , global trends or government. I do not have answer but let us look at everyone's perspective.

Farmers : They do not have a say in deciding price of milk rather they hardly know their cost of production  in most of the cases.

Processors : They normally follow demand  supply model to fix the price of milk and keep on reducing the price so as to discourage farmers to give milk to them in case of over supplies ( barring a few cooperatives and large dairies).

Intermediaries : They somehow have certain vested interests and they make best use of such circumstances by exploiting the milk eco system both ways.

Global trends : The trends are still not very positive for skimmed milk powder as well as farm gate price of milk. Butter and AMF may be a sigh of relief for Indian exporters currently but the trend still needs to be watched on year end and early next year.

Government : Since 1991 when dairy got delicensed , the government has slowly and steadily kept it self at bay when it comes to milk pricing , milk sheds and purchase price of milk from the farmers. Rather government has tried to create a lot of exit barriers right from the farmers to other stakeholders  over a period of time in different forms.

Since 1991, no policy has been drafted to define ownership of any given milk shed both in terms of quantity of milk to be collected and traded and prices at which it makes sense for farmers to be in this trade.

Milk has been  the top agri commodity in the country. Cereals and grains have been following it since last few years in terms of value. Milk is also the fastest cash flow generating livelihood activity for dairy farmers and especially women farmers. Still nothing much has been done in terms of developing cold chain and storage infrastructure and supply chain mechanism near to to farmers doorstep on the lines of FCI. Neither any initiative on fixing MSP of milk has been thought of nor any mechanism for milk price fixation for consumers .

Farmer's agitation is valid as they see the processors buying milk at as low as 28-30 per liter for buffalo milk without any change at the consumer level at Rs 52. What at the most has been offered by government is simply subsidy on milk purchase and subsidizing ailing cooperative structure in different states . Which may be  good but not sufficient for sure.
I think its high time for all stakeholders to think out of the box and look out for sustainable solution to such perennial problem of milk pricing during flush and lean.

First National Level Resource Person workshop was organized at FSSAI headquarters New Delhi on Dec 13 to kick off the nationwide drive to conduct  Food safety supervisor training program . This program will be carried out under the FoSTaC ( Food Safety Training and Certification) initiative of FSSAI. The meeting was represented by key stakeholders like Amul, Mother Dairy, NDDB, Verka, Nestle, ITC, Paras, Ananda etc along with Team FSSAI. 

So now with the last fortnight of the year progressing, I promise to meet you in next year with good wishes and some other interesting news and views.  

Happy e reading

with best regards

Kuldeep Sharma
Chief Thinking Officer
Suruchi Consultants (ISO 9001:2008 Company)
C-49 Sector-65
Noida 201307


Friday, December 1, 2017

Farmer is free to decide fate of his animals (50th Dairy Pulse, 16 to 30 Nov, 2017)


Dear friends,

Firstly I would like to thank all of you along with the complete dairy fraternity while presenting this 50th edition of Dairy Pulse (a fortnightly news letter on Indian and foreign dairy news). We respect your commitment to the industry and therefore we collate all these information so that you could review it once every fortnight in one go. I really can not believe that almost two years have passed since we began this journey. Next year we have plans to not only give this newsletter a new shape but to begin a separate newsletter with a focus on Dairy start ups, their success stories and investments in dairysector. I am sure that we will keep on receiving patronage from all of you for the same.

Finally the government rolled back its decision on stopping sale of animals for slaughtering purpose. This policy since beginning got a lots of criticism and resistance from almost all stakeholders from the dairy industry. Now the farmer is free to decide fate of his animals and carry out his dairy business in a more scientifically managed manner. I am happy that during last few months at least the think tank and other farmer groups discussed this issue openly which was being lying under the carpet for so many years. I find it to be good move by the policy maker for creating an opportunity for constructive criticism and the way forward. I also think that now this policy would be redesigned to suit the industry and farmers alike.

On 28th and 29th November IFCN organized its 4th regional conference at Chennai and was attended by dairy stalwarts from government, Amul, Aavin, Lactalis, Tirumala, Jersey, ABT foods, Kemin, Tetrapack, Promethane , Rabo Bank to name a few. 

This year the workshop was focussed on family dairy farms ( from 10-50) and emphasis was given to identifying the focus areas and challenges so as to make them sustainable to begin with.

The key findings of the conference will be shared with you along with our next newsletter but the key questions being discussed in the workshop remains as follows :

a. How to define a sustainable family dairy farms in India-what criteria need to be covered ?
b. How to improve farm management skills in India and waht need to be done for substantial improvements.
c. How to have better milking animals and how to improve their availability ?
d. What could be possible solutions for unproductive animals in 2020 besides Gaushalas?
e. What could be done better for mobilizing finances for Family dairy farms?
f. How would a sustainable family dairy farm model look like in 2020 in progressive states (e.g Number of cows, yield, land, feed, technology, etc)
g. How to attract youth of India to be enrolled for family dairy farm business in India ?
h. How to ensure Animal feed/water availability through out the year as per requirements in family dairy farms considering vast diversity in agro climatic conditions of India ?

A whole day was spent finding the answers but that is not sufficient. There is a great requirements of inventorizing the best practices and Indigeneous technical knowledge(ITK as used in agriculture) of dairy farmers and developing strategies at Block level if not village level. Looking at the size of the country even state level single policy may not do well. However what we have been facing is problem of National Policy for almost all issues in the country.

Slowly and steadily we will have to listen to the farmers and create solutions at micro level if we really wish to double their income by 2022.

To me a farmer's sustainability is nothing but a nation's sustainability in miniature. 


Happy e reading.

with warm regards

Kuldeep Sharma
Chief Thinking Officer
Suruchi Consultants (ISO 9001:2008 Company)
C-49 Sector-65
Noida 201307