India launches $1.2bn dairy fund
Jaitley said that in last year’s Budget speech, he focused on ‘income security’ of farmers to double their income in five years.
“We have to take more steps and enable the farmers to increase their production and productivity,” he said, adding that it was also necessary to deal with challenges.
“Dairy is an important source of additional income for the farmers,” Jaitley said.
No further details
He announcing the set up of a Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund through NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).
“Availability of milk processing facility and other infrastructure will benefit the farmers through value addition. A large number of milk processing units set up under the Operation Flood Programme has since become old and obsolete.”
The fund will amount to 8,000 crores ($1.2bn) over three years, with an initial amount of 2,000 crores ($296m) in the first year.
No details of how the funding will be used or distributed was given during the budget speech.
Milk production has been steadily rising in India. According to the National Dairy Development Board, in 2014-15, 146.3m tonnes of milk were produced.
Latest figures from the board also suggest dairy consumption is rising, and represents 18.7% of the average monthly spend on food in rural areas, and 20.25% in urban areas.
India is also the world’s biggest milk producer, although much of the collection in the country is unorganized, and yield per cow remains lower than in some countries.