Milk & dairy products not to become part of FTAs: Balyan

Milk & dairy products not to become part of FTAs: Balyan

New Delhi: In a major move aimed at protecting the interests of farmers, the government on Tuesday assured dairy farmers that milk and dairy products would never become a part of any Free-Trade Agreements (FTAs).

Batting for further increase in milk procurement prices as input costs have gone up sharply in the last six months, Union Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairying Sanjeev Balyan said that the government would not let the milk and dairy products become a part of any FTAs.

Notably, as per sources, India is planning to enter into FTAs with the United Kingdom, Canada, European Union (EU), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Israel. Also, India has already signed FTAs with UAE and Australia. Despite India being the largest milk producer, the major concern for the country is that the UK, Canada, and the EU are also significant milk producers in the world.

Expressing his concern over low milking animal breeds, Balyan said, "The average milk production of indigenous breed of cow is 3.9 kg in a day, which needs to be increased to above 10 kg/day to bring down the input cost. Also, the animal fodder that mainly consists of straw is costing much to farmers, but it's not adding any nutrients to the animals. The government is focusing on establishing silage manufacturing units to make availability of nutrient-based fodder for animals throughout the year," said Balyan, who himself is a veterinary doctor.

While speaking at an event to announce IDF World Day Summit to be held on September 12-15, Balyan also "rapped" NDDB's chairman Meenesh Shah for not making bids to hold the summit in the last 48 years as India is hosting this event after 48 years.

On the occasion, department secretary Atul Chaturvedi said that the dairy exports have increased by 100 per cent during the last fiscal year and India is the only country where 70-80 per cent of the consumer prices are passed to farmers.

DF president Piercristiano Brazalle and director-general Caroline Emond were also present at the event.

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