The situation of the Indian dairy industry is full of contradictions. India boasts of the largest dairy herd in the world and is also the largest milk producer in the world contributing almost 17% to the total world production. But the quality of milk available is by and large sub standard as a country wide test conducted by India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority found contamination in the samples with substances including salt and detergent in over two third of the batches. But things have begun to change and now you see high tech dairy farms like Bhagyalaxmi Dairy Farm tucked away in the dusty farmland northeast of the Indian city of Pune.
The dairy farm has been set up by Parag Milk Foods Ltd to provide milk for its Pride of Cows brand. It is a high end brand which at Rs. 75 a liter is priced at almost three times the price of other milk in the market. The expensive milk caters to about 1,500 affluent families in South Mumbai. A staple commodity has been effectively turned into a luxury but the company sees it as their contribution to the effort to drive up standards across India’s dairy sector which is the need of the hour.
Edmund Vincent-Piper is a 52 year old British with long experience in the dairy industry is managing the Bhagyalakhsami Dairy and overseeing the farm’s thoroughbred Holstein-Friesian cattle. He claims that his dairy farm is the best and the cleanest in India. He is determined to prove to the Indians that technology can bring about the much needed improvement. The Indian Government is also seized of the matter and has drawn up plans to boost production and improve standards by harnessing science and technology. Private companies like Parag are also doing their bit in bringing about this change.