To offset the economic impact of COVID -19 and the lockdown, on the dairy sector, the Government of India has announced dairy and Agri specific relief measures. Nirmala Sitharaman's press conferences are coming few days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced USD 260 Billion stimuli to reinvigorate the economy post coronavirus outbreak.
Nirmala Sitharaman announced USD 2 Billion Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund. The fund has been announced to support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.
The government will offer incentives to establish plants for the export of niche products. Sitharaman also said that the new scheme was being launched to offer lower interest rates to dairy cooperatives. The interest subvention working capital loan scheme will continue and will put an additional USD 0.66 billion in the hands of two crore farmers, the FM said.
Milk was being thrown on streets since consumers were unable to buy it during the lockdown. During this time, 56 million litres/day milk was procured by cooperatives in which farmers were paid USD 0.54 Billion.
With an average farm size of 1 to 2 cows, Indian housed a whooping 70 million dairy farms. Hence the sector has a significant impact of low or marginal income groups and also has the potential to substantially increase the earning of such farmers.
The given stimuli and current COVID-19 situation should be used for rebooting the Indian Dairy Sector not to just main the self-sufficiency but also to play a pioneering role in the global dairy sector.
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