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April 14, 2024
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FAO join hands with the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, GoI for safe and clean milk in India | FAO in India | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


In collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying (MoFAH&D), Government of India (GoI), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized a roundtable discussion on ‘Enhancing livestock keepers’ income through certification for milk and dairy products to increase market access’ on 29 November 2023 in We the Peoples Hall, UN House in New Delhi.

The objective of the roundtable as part of the Technical Cooperation Programme between the Department of Animal Husbandry (MoFAHD), GoI and FAO, aimed to deliberate on pointers for devising a road map and strategy for the development of standards and protocols for clean and safe milk.

The roundtable discussion brought together relevant stakeholders and individuals from the ministry and the dairy industry from across the country. It was attended by senior representatives from the MoFAH&D, Department of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services, Government of Sikkim, Feed & Fodder Division, MoFAH&D, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), and from milk producer organizations from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Rajasthan.

The roundtable was led by Takayuki Hagiwara, FAO Representative in India. During his opening remarks, he shared, “In India, it is important to strengthen protocols for clean and safe milk leading to a policy guideline on the certification mechanism.” He also highlighted the current challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and the need to work together to reduce the threat of AMR in food and milk production systems.

Ms Varsha Joshi, Additional Secretary, MoFAH&D delivered the keynote address to the participants. She pointed out that, “Average per capita availability of milk per day in India is 459gm. However, the priority now is to secure quality along with quantity. Farmers need to be educated, and standards and protocols have to be in place.”

Manoj Mishra, National Policy Expert, FAO gave a brief overview on the ‘Importance of standards and protocols: Safe food, Improved Market, Increased income’. He shared that in India approx 66 percent of the rural households (landless and marginal farmers) sustain on livestock economy. While an average of 48 percent of milk production is retained for self and local consumption, the remaining 52 percent is marketed (organized sector, primarily cooperatives accounts for 31 percent and the unorganized sector, characterized by unsustainable milk pricing, accounts for 21 percent).

The day-long deliberations with the participants also focussed on specific technical sessions on existing initiatives, standards, and protocols for safe and clean milk in India. An important point of discussion was to improve the livelihood opportunities of millions of small-scale producers in our country. Deliberations were also facilitated on the need to reduce the use of antibiotics at the farm level and adopt good practices at village, farmer level and industry levels. The Government of India is also creating better infrastructure systems for farmers, with better storage by providing milk coolers.

Milk has the potential to increase the nutrition status of the country. FAO advocates that the milk distribution system should focus on strict hygiene standards to ensure safe and clean milk in the country. There is a need for proper care at the primary production level for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) for Clean Milk Production (CMP). It desires strict adherence to guidelines and procedures including process monitoring such as traceability records (particularly animal feed and fodder) on raw milk production as required by the Food Safety Management System. Collating and analyzing the existing protocols for CMP from the perspective of unorganized small livestock keepers for easy and local-level applicability is an urgent need.


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