Indian dairy industry

Dairy is a place where handling of milk and milk products is done and technology refers to the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. Dairy technology has been defined as that branch of dairy science, which deals with the processing of milk and the manufacture of milk products on an industrial scale.

In developed dairying countries such as the U.S.A., the year 1850 is seen as the dividing line between farm and factory-scale production. Various factors contributed to this change in these countries, viz. concentration of population in cities where jobs were plentiful, rapid industrialization, improvement of transportation facilities, development of machines, etc. whereas the rural areas were identified for milk production, the urban centres were selected for the location of milk processing plants and product manufacturing factories. These plants and factories were rapidly expanded and modernized with improved machinery and equipment to secure the various advantages of large-scale production. Nearly all the milk in the U.S.A. before 1900 was delivered as raw (natural) milk. Once pasteurization was introduced, it developed rapidly. Mechanical refrigeration helped in the rapid development of the factory system of market milk distribution.

In India, dairying has been practised as a rural cottage industry since the remote past. Semi-commercial dairying started with the establishment of military dairy farms and co-operative milk unions throughout the country towards the end of the nineteenth century.

During the earlier years, each household in those countries maintained its ‘family cow’ or secured milk from its neighbour who supplied those living close by. As the urban population increased, fewer households could keep a cow for private use. The high cost of milk production, problems of sanitation etc., restricted the practice; and gradually the family cow in the city was eliminated and city cattle were all sent back to the rural areas.

Gradually farmers within easy driving distance began delivering milk over regular routes in the cities. This was the beginning of the fluid milk-sheds which surround the large cities of today. Prior to the 1850s most milk was necessarily produced within a short distance of the place of consumption because of lack of suitable means of transportation and refrigeration.

The Indian Dairy Industry has made rapid progress since Independence. A large number of modern milk plants and product factories have since been established. These organized dairies have been successfully engaged in the routine commercial production of pasteurized bottled milk and various Western and Indian dairy products. With modern knowledge of the protection of milk during transportation, it became possible to locate dairies where land was less expensive and crops could be grown more economically.

In India, the market milk technology may be considered to have commenced in 1950, with the functioning of the Central Dairy of Aarey Milk Colony, and milk product technology in 1956 with the establishment of AMUL Dairy, Anand. The industry is still in its infancy and barely 10% of our total milk production under goes organized handling.

History of Indian Market Milk Industry

Beginning in organized milk handling was made in India with the establishment of Military Dairy Farms.

  • Handling of milk in Co-operative Milk Unions established all over the country on a small scale in the early stages.

  • Long distance refrigerated rail-transport of milk from Anand to Bombay since 1945

  • Pasteurization and bottling of milk on a large scale for organized distribution was started at Aarey (1950), Calcutta (Haringhata, 1959), Delhi (1959), Worli (1961), Madras (1963) etc.

  • Establishment of Milk Plants under the Five-Year Plans for Dairy Development all over India. These were taken up with the dual object of increasing the national level of milk consumption and ensuing better returns to the primary milk producer. Their main aim was to produce more, better and cheaper milk.