The First IDF Regional Dairy Conference Asia Pacific 2024 inaugurated in Kochi with the theme Farmer Centric Innovations in Dairying

The First IDF Regional Dairy Conference Asia Pacific 2024 inaugurated in Kochi with the theme Farmer Centric Innovations in Dairying

26 June 2024, Kochi: Smt J Chinchurani, Hon’ble Minister of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Govt of Kerala; Shri Gabriel Denwang Wangsu, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Veterinary & Dairy Development, Govt of Arunachal Pradesh; Ms Alka Upadhyaya, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Govt of India & President, Indian National Committee of IDF; HE Ms Kshenuka Senewiratne, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka; Ms Varsha Joshi, Additional Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Govt of India; Mr Piercristiano Brazzale, President, IDF; Mr Takayuki Hagiwara, FAO India; Shri Pranabjyoti Nath, Secretary, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Govt of Kerala; Dr Meenesh Shah, Chairman, NDDB & Member Secretary, Indian National Committee of IDF and Ms Laurence Rycken, Director General, IDF inaugurated the First IDF Regional Dairy Conference Asia Pacific 2024 in Kochi, Kerala.

The conference with the theme Farmer Centric Innovations in Dairying is organised by the Indian National Committee of International Dairy Federation with Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying as its President, National Dairy Development Board as its Secretariat and various dairy cooperatives and prominent private players as its members. The leaders and experts from across the globe will collectively address key issues affecting the dairy sector, particularly in the Asia Pacific region and globally. Along with 22 exhibition pavilions showcasing dairy farms, processing equipment and related technologies, 17 distinct startups are also displaying their innovations around dairy and allied industries at the event.

In his virtual address, Shri Rajiv Ranjan Singh (Alias Lalan Singh), Hon’ble Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said that we are proud that India is hosting the first regional Asia-Pacific Dairy Conference of the International Dairy Federation from June 26-28, 2024, in Kochi, Kerala. Currently, India produces nearly one-fourth of the world's milk with a growth rate in milk production that is more than double the global average. Around 700 experts, academicians, dairy professionals and dignitaries from 25 countries, including India, as well as approximately 500 farmers will share experiences and insights on the latest advancements and scientific innovations in dairy products, processes, and practices, aiming to elevate the dairy sector to new heights. Today, the dairy industry plays a crucial role in ensuring nutritional security for 1.4 billion people in India and provides livelihoods for over 100 million families. Hence, the theme of the conference, "Farmer-centric Innovations in Dairy," has been appropriately chosen, reflecting the focus on farmer-centric policies and practices in the Indian dairy sector. This event will also showcase the rich traditions, culture and cuisine of Kerala, known as 'God’s Own Country.'

Smt J Chinchurani expressed her gratitude to NDDB, INC IDF for choosing Kerala to host the conference. She mentioned that dairy farming is not only an economic activity but also a way of life that empowers rural communities. She informed that Kerala has been actively involved in dairy development activities through cooperatives since the second phase of Operation Flood (OF) in the 1980s. She said that since OF II the state has witnessed transformation with the establishment of dairy cooperatives, creation of dairy infrastructure, introduction of superior cattle breeds and promotion of scientific dairy practices. She also mentioned that the Govt of Kerala provides immense support to the livestock sector, especially to the dairy sector. Kerala’s breeding policy is also success story and a role model for the country. With ‘Farmer Centric Innovations in Dairying’ as the central theme, she urged dairy stakeholders to explore sustainable solutions for Kerala's unique challenges. From advancing beekeeping to adopting climate-smart practices, our goal is a resilient future for our dairy sector. Extending best wishes to all participants, farmers, delegates, experts & dairy stakeholders, she encouraged everyone to collaborate and pave a sustainable path forward for the dairy industry and rural economy.

Shri Gabriel Denwang Wangsu said that the dairy sector has developed significantly over time. The use of new technologies, innovations and equipment replaced almost all traditional methods of livestock & dairying. This evolution not only contributed to the growth of the dairy sector but also to other associated sectors of the country. This sector is one of the major contributors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and national income of the country. The sector is seen as a tool for employment generation, economic sustenance and ensuring food chain supply in line with the various goals set up by the UN under the SDG. Coming from the easternmost part of the country, I have witnessed that dairying is a major contributor to the rural economy, providing employment and enhancing sustainable development, particularly empowering women with self-sustaining employment opportunities.

Ms Alka Upadhyaya highlighted the critical role of dairy in global nutrition and livelihoods. She stressed that innovation is crucial for sustained growth in this dynamic industry, underscoring India's commitment to quality over quantity in dairy production, which supports over 80 million families. She emphasised the need for innovative exports and stronger value chains. Ms. Upadhyaya also highlighted the importance of improving bovine yield and dairy product quality to meet increasing consumption demands. She advocated for cooperative and private sector collaboration in India's largest consumer base and recommended enhancing traceability and creating FMD-free zones. Discussing the livestock health ecosystem, she emphasised innovation in vaccines and solutions for issues like Mastitis, encouraging support for the startup ecosystem in this sector. She called for safeguarding farmers' economic interests through improved livestock insurance and addressing fodder shortages.

Mr. Piercristiano Brazalle, President of IDF mentioned that it is IDF's honour in hosting the First Asia Pacific Regional Dairy Conference and highlighted the decision to entrust NDDB with organising this prestigious event, given their track record of successful summits. Mr. Brazalle eagerly anticipated witnessing the latest innovations in the dairy sector showcased at the conference. Recognising the pivotal role of women in dairying, he highlighted their significant contribution to the industry's success. He concluded by extending best wishes to the event organizers, envisioning a grand and successful event ahead.

Dr. Meenesh Shah, Chairman, NDDB said that NDDB is honoured to host this prestigious event under the theme ‘Farmer Centric Innovations in Dairying’ in Kochi, Kerala. Chairman, NDDB said that dairying is not just an industry; it's a lifeline for over 1 billion people worldwide, supporting livelihoods and fostering rural economies. In India alone, over 8 crore people are engaged in dairy-related activities, highlighting its critical role in socio-economic development. Dr Shah informed that the conference will delve into cutting-edge topics such as productivity enhancement, digitalisation, sustainable practices, and climate action in the dairy sector. He further added that the exhibition featuring transformative products and technologies will showcase the industry's progress and potential. He called for leveraging this platform to collaborate, exchange ideas, and strategise on overcoming challenges and achieving sustainable growth in the dairy sector. Together, we can pave the way for a prosperous future for dairy farmers worldwide. He also mentioned that this conference will bring together stakeholders to come up with innovations in areas of improved germplasm, new product development, better health monitoring, advancement in nutrition, livestock quality and quantity and a transport supply chain network.