February 12, 2009

First national milk grid in Jalpaiguri

Chandigarh, Feb 11 : In view of surplus production of milk, India has drawn up plans to export 40 million tonnes of milk annually to Saarc countries. Disclosing this on Wednesday, a spokesman of the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) said that the annual milk production in the country had touched about 109 million tonnes as against its annual consumption of 69 million tonnes.

India's milk production has shown a quantum increase in the last one decade or so owing to development and propagation of high milk yielding cross-bred cattle breeds in intensive researches by the NDRI, the country's premier and oldest dairy research institute headquartered at Karnal. This is the first time India would be exporting milk to milk-deficit countries.

As such about 40 million tonnes of milk could be exported annually from the country. The export of milk would not only increase the income of farmers, but also earn foreign exchange for the country, he said.

Following the NDRI's suggestion, the Union Ministry for Animal Husbandry and Dairying is contemplating export of milk to the Saarc countries. For this purpose, three milk grids were being set up in the country.

The first such grid would be set up at Jalpaiguri or New Jalpaiguri of West Bengal from where milk would be exported to Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Presently, these countries were importing milk from USA to cater to their needs. The second milk grid would be set up in Chennai which would export milk to the South-West countries and third grid was proposed to be set up in Gujarat, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the first phase of setting up milk grid had nearly been completed. Data of milk production is being collected from all the states to know the quantity of milk to be supplied to the milk grid. The rates structure at which milk is being imported by the Saarc countries was also being studied. With the export of milk, the cattle breeders would not only get higher rates for milk, but the price of milch cattle would also go up substantially.

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