India is world’s biggest and the fastest growing market for food and the organised dairy sector alone would create 1.2 crore new jobs over the next 10 years, says R S Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (Amul).
He said that the organised dairy sector in India was set to grow from $30 billion to $110 billion over the next decade and there were enormous opportunities for investors in the entire value chain, from animal breeding and feeding to logistics and packaging.
“India produces 21% of the milk in the world and India’s milk market was growing at 5% whereas the global milk market was growing at 1.8%. Amul had not invested overseas because the market and the growth, both are in India,” he pointed out while speaking at an online dialogue organised by All India Management Association (AIMA).
AIMA President, Sanjay Kirloskar pointed out that India had helped many countries tide over their food supply issues during the COVID crisis and the country had the potential to be one of the key food providers to the world. However, he added that the bulk of India’s food exports were commodity and the value-added, processed food exports from India were yet to achieve popular acceptance in the global markets.
Sodhi further said that while India could not be the food provider to the world, it could certainly be dairy products provider to the world.
Commenting on the relationship between food exports and farmer incomes, Sodhi said, “To give good price to farmers, we have to focus on the Indian market. We will lose money exporting to the US and Europe,” he said.
He argued that Indian farmers remained poor because the urban lobby painted food price increase as harmful to the economy. “When we raise milk price by Rs 1-2, it makes headlines and newspapers raise the issue of food inflation,” he said. People who spend Rs 400 on a pizza complain about even the minutest increases in raw food prices, he remarked.
Sodhi said that Indian farmers needed protection from cheap imports if the country was to remain self-sufficient in food despite rapidly growing demand for food from a prospering population.