With pastures for cattle shrinking, India may have to import milk by 2021 | india-news

India may have to import milk in four years, if it cannot increase fodder supply for its 299 million cattle, as rising pressure on land reduces pastures nationwide.

Spurred by rising incomes, a growing population and changing food preferences, the demand for milk and milk products will grow to at least 210 million tonnes by 2021–22, a rise of 36% over five years, according to government estimates. To meet this demand, production must grow by 5.5% per annum, according to the State of India’s Livelihood (SOIL) report. In 2014-15 and 2015-16, milk production grew at 6.2% and 6.3%, respectively.

To boost milk yield, India would need to generate 1,764 million tonnes of fodder by 2020, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data. But existing sources can only manage about 900 million tonnes of fodder–a shortage of 49%.

Demand for private consumption has risen from 5% per annum in the period 1998-2005 to 8.5% per annum between 2005 and 2012, according to an Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, report.

This demand and supply gap has pushed up milk prices by an average of 16% per annum, according to the according to the 2015 SOIL report.

States with top milk yields have more pastures

In the decade to 2015, milk production went up 59% from 92 million tonnes to 146 million tonnes in 2015. But fodder shortages may knock India off its position as the world’s top milk producer (it contributes nearly 17% of global production).

The milk productivity of India’s…

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