The cause of most diseases today that the world is battling with has to do with the choice of food you eat. There are many junk foods around us today. In the same way, those that have access to foods that will deliver the best nutrients do not know about balanced diet. Ask most people on the need for milk; majority will reply that it is a luxury that one can do away with-”how very far can one be from the truth!” if l may ask? Milk is very important for you and l to live a balanced life.
As the world population is increasing, there is the need to ensure a corresponding increase in the production of diary for the benefit of the population. How close is the milk industry to achieving this? When did the industry come into existence? How much have we exploited it to get the best benefits from it? What are the disappointments in the milk industry? What are the high points in the industry-”how happy is the dairy farmer? Are they measuring up to the world demand for dairy?”
The above and many more are questions that we will attempt to find answers to in the course of this journey into the milk industry. With the ever increasing world population; everything points in one clear direction-”the need to improve the lot of dairy farming.” In the final analysis, there are no two ways to it than to resort to improved means of milk production.
Perhaps it will be nice to let you know the importance of milk to mankind. The need for a perfect food for holistic health which is the desire of all cannot be overemphasized. Do you know that milk is the most perfect food around us today? Milk products have been scientifically proved to contain high quality proteins. Unprocessed milk is 87% water and a mere 13% constituting the solid which is the useful aspect. This solid contains the following beneficial nutrients:
- Fat soluble vitamins
- Water soluble vitamins
Consider the above stats; a mere 13% as the useful component in milk. You can best imagine the challenge that this will pose to demand considering the poor state of supply. Something has to be done to improve supply or else the entire world will run into serious problem of shortfall in supply which will lead to one thing-exploitation through a very high price regime. The price will be out of reach of the common man
That is the reality on ground in the milk industry. Only the developed countries are having a roller coaster ride while the developing countries (who are in the majority) are having it tough meeting up with targeted demands. Take a look at the ingredients and place it side by side with its usefulness to the body and you will rightly agree with me that the world is in serious problem considering the current state of things in the milk industry.
Not done yet, milk also contains the following ingredients:
No doubt about it, milk has to role to play if you and l are to attain holistic health. It becomes a practical impossibility to obtain adequate calcium that the body needs for strong bones without milk and its products. The diary industry has a critical role to play in the dietary needs of the world. The following are the recommended daily consumption of milk groups according to the government’s U.S. Dietary Guidelines:
- Children 1-8 years old, 2 servings
- Children 9 years and older, 3 servings
- Adults, 3 servings
That is a tall order to most people in developing countries. Milk will continue to play a critical role in the total health being of the world. Any shortfall in production should be addressed now for the sake of you and l.
CHALLENGES FACING THE INDUSTRY
He who feels it knows it best. In other to bring to your knowledge the challenges that the dairy farmer faces in this dispensation that we are in; we have decided to put the thoughts of someone who is practically involved on the field so that you will have a practical insight into what the dairy farmer is passing through on a daily basis on the dairy farm:
One of the great challenges in the industry today is marketing. Enough is not being sold because the majority does not know the importance of the milk. Instead of tackling the issue; apathy has set in and the population of the farmers is aging with the younger generation not given to taking to the field. If sales are to be made, there must be a marketing drive aimed at convincing the people to buy.
- That is the secret of bigger brands in other sectors of the economy. This defeatist attitude is not helping matters. The output is far from being enough to cater for the teaming population; in fact, the dairy farmer should be looking at the angle of increasing output through gene-edited milk rather than shying away from the reality on ground.
- The reality for success is in aggressive marketing drive and a resolve to rebrand. Branding will do a lot of good. Those in the food and beverage sector of the economy are doing this and are growing their market in leaps and bounds; the milk industry should take a cue from that. They have strong enough points to drive home their points that will make the buyers to commit to buy.
Another area of challenge in the dairy industry today is the issue of biological insecurity among the livestock that produces the milk. They have a long way. Some of this species can be traced to thousands of years ago. They have become extremely vulnerable to diseases and attacks. It appears their immune system has been weakened over the years.
The nature of traffic that comes to the farm on a daily basis is not helping matters in any way. With the reality on ground, the only solution is an improved livestock that will be able to withstand all the prevailing challenges put together. The only way out to achieve this effectively is through gene-edited livestock. A lot of advancements have been made in science and the earlier the milk industry takes advantage of this, the better for the supply of milk to world population.
When you commit the blunder of putting a square peg in a round hole, the result is easily predictable. The attitude of government is not helping matters in the milk industry as at today. When you take a keen look at the formation of the boards of some parastatals; they are composed of people who are committed and are well grounded in the field.
The attitude of people on the board in the milk industry who know next to nothing about what it takes to drive the industry forward is not helping matters. The fact that they still hold on to methods used centuries ago in the 21st century is detrimental to progress in the industry. The earlier they come to the realization of the fact that the milk industry is involved in complex issues such as:
- Product development
- International trade negotiations
- Legal and accounting matters
- Dealing with multinational processors as well as other areas of expertise
That is yet another angle to the issues at hand in the milk industry. It must be addressed for the industry to grow. It must be addressed so that the relevant technology needed to drive the industry will manifest.
Source: Carl Loewith of Summitholm Farm
A country for consideration is India which has come a long way in the milk industry. A lot of enthusiasm has been shown by the dairy farmer in India. Going back memory to the measurement of their performance in the 1950’s and 1960’s; it does not show anything to be proud of. There was a drive in the right direction in the 1970’s with the successful implementation of the “Operation Flood Program” (OFP). The sector achieved a fourfold growth rate. Over the last three decades; the production of milk in India has increased significantly and is still on the upward swing.
What about per capita milk production? The statistics show that it has declined over that period of time. The interest in India boils down to the fact that it is the leading country of the world when talking of dairy farming. If this is the lot in India- a country that has great potentials in the industry; then the world is in danger of a shortfall in supply.
|MILK PRODUCTION||INCREASE IN MILK PRODUCTION|
|1970-1971||22 million tons|
|2007-2008||104.8 million tons|
The above table shows the giant strides been made towards efforts to make milk available. Over this same period of time, the increase in per capita per day milk availability rose from 107gms to 245gms. Credit to OFP, they realized the need of the local dairy farmer and paid attention to their needs, also because they have played a key role in transforming the sector; but is their effort total? Are there rooms for developments?
The place of job satisfaction is very important if the farmers in the milk industry are to be sustained and encouraged. Though modern technology is available to them; it is still very clear that the farmers in India cannot compete favorably with their counterparts in the EU and the U S in export trade of the product. The introduction of subsidy into the sector by these countries is the reason why they are ahead of India.
source: IDEAS JOURNAL by Bindu Hima T
India as a point of reference is a mirror of what is happening in other countries of the world. When subsidy is introduced; then there will be improvements in quality of milk produced and other dairy products as well. India and indeed countries in similar situations can capture the chunk of the world market if the farmer can be more empowered through the introduction of subsidy. If this is put in place, then their efforts in gene milk industry will have the desired full impact on the citizens.
INVESTMENTS IN THE MILK INDUSTRY IS GROWING BIGGER
There is an explosion in demand of dairy products the world over-thanks to the enlightened awareness of the importance of milk. The demand has brought some pressure on the supply chain and those in the industry are responding with heavy investments in the sector. These investments by dairy companies are growing by 15% year in year out.
Let us consider some of the comments of selected big time players in the industry in this regard:
Mumbai-based Prabhat Dairy managing director Vivek Nirmal said: “We are investing nearly 30-40% of our capital expenditure in setting up bulk coolers and adding several chilling centers. This coming year, we plan to add another 100 bulk milk coolers at our collection centers to maintain the microbial content.“
Nitin Puri, president and country head (food and agribusiness) Yes Bank, said, “The explosion in demand for high-profit yielding value-added products have given dairies the capacity to invest heavily in cold chain in the past couple of years, whereas earlier, it was not possible on a large scale from low-profit yielding liquid milk business.
This would bring in higher revenues for dairy players, which would propel their growth and expansion, as well as increase the size of the organized dairy“.
Dodla Dairy managing director D Sunil Dodla said: “As companies are expanding and increasing their capacities, and there is a consolidation happening, they are also setting up cold storages for products like cheese, flavored milk along with the processing plant, which is driving the demand for cold chains.“
Source: THE ECONOMIC TIMES by Ashish Kulshrestha
The realities on ground as can be seen above calls for cheer among big time players in the milk industry. The problem lies with the uneven distribution of these hefty investments. If milk is meant for all irrespective of color or race; then there must be measures in place across all the divides to ensure that everyone has it at an affordable price.
As things now stand in the market, some are getting quality milk at cheaper prices. Those in this category are very few in number. The majorities do not have access to quality milk; the milk of low quality that they are getting is at an exorbitant price. That is the greatest headache in the industry today. There is a very glaring perceived imbalance in the milk sector.
The place of government involvement cannot be overemphasized. The dairy farmers need encouragement to be able to put in their best. There should be attractive measures to lure the younger generation into the industry. The present generation of farmers is aging and there should be backups to ensure that no gap is left when the existing farmers leave the farm.
Policies that will make life easy for the dairy farmer should be put in place. This present situation; where those in the manufacturing industry are happy, seeing their fortunes taking an upward swing should cut across all the boundaries in the industry. The primary source of the milk should be taken into serious considerations-the farmers that deal directly with the livestock that produces the milk.
It will not be fair if the dairy farmer is left to his fate on the farm while some people are profiting from the product of his hard labor. The earlier the government of respective dairy producing countries take cue from this and take it as a serious challenge; the better for the availability of quality milk at affordable prices.
Milk is important to live a healthy life. Though steps are being taken to make sure that it is available to all at affordable prices; the effort is still lopsided. More needs to be done. The approach to gene-edited milk production is not total-at least for now. A case in mind is India which is used as a country of reference. Other milk producing countries are even worse than the case with India.
If the world desires quality milk; then governments the world over should subsidize the efforts of the dairy farmers-it is very essential. The impact of that can be seen in the E U countries and the situation that obtains in the U S. We also mentioned the need for an aggressive marketing drive which is currently lacking in the industry. What is happening in the beverage industry can be introduced in the dairy sector of the economy.
Quality and affordable milk is a possibility. The approach to this must however be total and all-embracing to get the full benefits thereof that will lead to quality and affordable milk for all.
Image from flickr by Mike Mozart