India is world’s largest milk producer


A Letter From Grandpa

By Niranjan Shah

My dear Nikita and Sanjna:

The numbers for milk production in India for the year 2008-2009 are not available so far, but India is expected to maintain the record of being the world’s largest milk producer country with an estimated 110 million tons of milk in the year 2008-2009. The country achieved the distinction with the production of 104.8 million tons in the year 2007-2008 according to a report of the National Dairy Development Board. World’s milk production was expected to be 688 million tons in the year 2008-2009. India expects a marginal 1.7 percent increase over the previous year as against about four percent increase achieved by India.  Within the country, farmers’ milk cooperatives showed a better performance. They procured about 9.2 million tonnes, an increase of 9.7 per cent over the previous year, handling over 14 percent of the national marketable surplus. The cooperative sector covered about 21 percent of the country’s villages and over 18 percent of the total milk-producing households in rural areas.

The NDDB  had    prepared a Rs. 173 billion plan for the next 15 years  to increase    milk production with better productivity, substantially strengthening and expanding the infrastructure for procurement and human resources development. The NDDB had also set up a Center for Analysis and Learning in Livestock and Food at Anand, in central Gujarat. It would provide reliable and efficient laboratory services for livestock, dairy and food sectors.

In the year 1997, India’s milk production was on par with the US at 71 million tons. The world milk production in 1998 at 557 million tons would continue the steady progress in recent years. Furthermore, the annual rate of growth in milk production in India is between 5-6 percent, against that of the world at 1 percent. The steep rise in the growth pattern has been attributed to a sustained expansion in domestic demand, although per capita consumption is modest – at  70 kg of milk equivalent.

India’s annual milk production has more than trebled in the last 30 years, rising from 21 million tons in 1968 to an anticipated 80 million tons in 2001. This rapid growth and modernization is largely credited to the contribution of dairy cooperatives, under the Operation Flood (OF) Project, assisted by many multi-lateral agencies, including the European Union, the World Bank, FAO and WFP (World Food Program). In the Indian context of poverty and malnutrition, milk has a special role to play for its many nutritional advantages as well as providing supplementary income to some 70 million farmers in over 500,000 remote villages.

According to numbers available so far India is the largest milk producer with United States of America at number two, followed by Russian Federation, Pakistan, Brazil, Ukraine, Poland, New Zealand, and Australia. Most milk is obtained from dairy cows, although milk from goats, water buffalo, and reindeer is also used in various parts of the world. In the United States, and in many industrialized countries, raw cow’s milk is processed before it is consumed. During processing the fat content of the milk is adjusted, various vitamins are added, and potentially harmful bacteria are killed. Milk is also used to make butter, cream, yogurt, cheese, ghee and a variety of other products.

With the development of the dairy industry in the United States, a variety of machines for processing milk were also developed. In 1856, Gail Borden patented a method for making condensed milk by heating it in a partial vacuum.  Borden opened a condensed milk plant and cannery in Wassaic, New York, in 1861. During the Civil War, his condensed milk was used by Union troops. In 1863, Louis Pasteur of France developed a method of heating wine to kill the microorganisms that cause wine to turn into vinegar. Later, this method of killing harmful bacteria was adapted to a number of food products and became known as pasteurization.

— Grandpa’s blessings

Niranjan Shah, a civil engineer, who pioneered famous high-rise buildings in Baroda, is a broadcaster in India and the USA and a prolific writer. Under “A Letter from Grandpa.” he has been writing since 2002 on India’s historical, philosophical, and literary heritage. He can be reached at

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