India’s milk output more than doubled from 79.66 mt in 2000 to 176.27 mt

Agriculture accounted for 15.26% of India’s GDP (gross value added at current basic prices) in 2016-17, for which comprehensive data is available from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). NABARD’s All-India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey report for 2016-17 has estimated that the total number of agricultural households in the country works out to 37.5% of the estimated total population of 132 crore for 2016-17. Simply put, 37.5% of Indians are contributing 15.26% of the value of goods and services produced in the country from agriculture. To put it differently, almost 85% of income being generated in India is accruing to 62.5% of its people. An average farmer’s income is, thus, only 30% of that of a non-agriculturalist.


If the goal is to double the incomes of agricultural households, the focus should, therefore, be on diversification both within and outside the farm. It means enabling some members of farming households to find outside employment opportunities while, at the same time, raising agricultural incomes through increasing productivity, simple automation, lowering production costs and compressing value chains to maximise the producer’s share in the consumer rupee. Educating farmers on better agri practices constantly will bring necessary magic of efficiency and better return. We do it from our company regularly.


This is where dairying comes in. The CSO’s national accounts statistics shows that 26.15% of the GVA from India’s agricultural sector in 2016-17 was constituted by livestock. Further, 66.93% of the value of livestock output was from milk. It implies that roughly every fifth rupee in Indian agriculture comes from dairying. This is because practically every farmer produces milk, irrespective of what his/her “main” crop is. Unlike the main/principal crop that is marketed once or twice a year, milk brings in income on a daily basis. Also, its prices are less prone to volatility and there is no other crop where the Indian farmer realises roughly two-thirds of the rate paid by consumers (that ratio is one-third in the US). Organised dairies in India have evolved a unique procurement-cum-marketing system, wherein Indian farmers get 60 to 65% of the value of retail price paid by the consumer.