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MILK: A global symbol of nutrution and well being


Milk Day: June 01

Dr. Parveen Kumar

Globally hailed as a complete food, Milk has been a part of our culture, a way of life since time immorial. Milk is an important part of a healthy and balanced diet. Not only milk and dairy products are beneficial for us, but the dairy sector constitutes a vital part of global food system providing economic social nutritional benefits to many people around the world. As we are an agricultural country, the world milk day holds more importance considering it one of the staple foods of the country. The variation of using milk in the country differs, but it is an important part of at least one meal a day.

Milk holds an extremely crucial position in our daily intake. It is full of protein and nutrients that are absolutely essential for human growth at all stages of life. Milk is also an amazing source of many healthy nutrients like magnesium, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin A, folate, vitamin D, protein, healthy fats, etc. It provides instant energy to the body as it contains good quality proteins including non-essential and essential amino acids and fatty acids. Milk is a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids. Cow's milk is 87% water, making it a hydrating beverage. It's rich in calcium, vital for strong bones and teeth. Milk contains B vitamins, important for energy metabolism. Goat's milk is more digestible for some due to its smaller fat globules. Raw milk enthusiasts claim it has immune-boosting properties. Lactose-free milk provides an option for those with dairy sensitivities. Human breast milk changes in composition to meet a baby's evolving needs. Milk can also be a good source of vitamin D, crucial for bone . The Indian Council of Medical Research states that an individual needs about 600-800 mg/day of calcium which increases to 1200 mg/day in pregnant and lactating mothers. Inadequate calcium intake for longer duration is responsible for osteopenia and osteoporosis. The best source of calcium is milk.   with an annual production of 230.58 million tonnes in 2022-23 was the largest producer of milk in the world. It constituted 24% of the world's milk production. The per capita availability of milk in the country has also witnessed a 1.5 times increase from 303 gram per day 2013-14 to 459 grams per day in India during 2022-23.

To highlight the benefits that intake of milk and other dairy products for the peoples and how the dairy sector supports the small and marginal farmers as a source of livelihood; the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations decided to celebrate the first day of June every year as ‘World Milk Day'. The day brings our attention to recognize the importance of this global food and how it is such an imperative part of our diet. World Milk Day was first celebrated about twenty years ago on June 1 in 2001. Since then each year the day is celebrated with a specific theme. June 1 was chosen as the date because many countries were already celebrating a milk day during that time of year. It is celebrated in many countries like Columbia, Malaysia, Germany, Romania, USA, UAE, etc. Over the years, the no. of countries and peoples celebrating this day has been on the increase..

This day intends to provide an opportunity give attention to activities that are connected with the dairy sector. This all is done to recognize the importance of milk as a global food. Milk is at the centre throughout this day. The Dairy Federation launches a variety of promotional activities describing the significance of milk as an amazing addition for a healthy and balanced diet on its website online. So, many members from varied health organizations work together and take part in the celebration to spread the message of milk to the public with the help of different promotional activities throughout the day. In 2018, World Milk Day was celebrated with 586 events in 72 countries. Farmers, staff, families, politicians, chefs, nutritionists, doctors, academics and athletes raised their glasses of milk and shared information about the benefits of milk and dairy products in their lives.

  • The day every year is celebrated with a specific theme. This year the day is celebrated with the theme is Dairy's role in global nutrition, demonstrating how dairy has been an accessible, affordable and nutrient-dense food and an essential part of balanced diets across the world. It emphasizes the significance of dairy in nutrition and farming, underscoring its support for livelihoods worldwide. It aims at increasing awareness on the social and environmental responsibility approach of the sector that provides sustainable, safe and healthy, products, that are affordable and accessible, that preserves the climate and the planet, and contributes to vibrant rural areas.

As an industry, it employs more than 80 million households with the majority being small and marginal farmers as well as landless one. Farm women constitute the major workforce if the dairy sector in the country. The sector is thus a leading job provider for rural women. India has been the leading producer and consumer of dairy products worldwide since 1998 with a sustained growth in the availability of milk and milk products. The dairy industry also serves as a tool of socio-economic development. Dairy activities form an essential part of the rural Indian economy, serving as an important source of employment and income. India also has the largest bovine population in the world. However, the milk production per animal is significantly low as compared to the other major dairy producers. Moreover, nearly all of the dairy produce in India is consumed domestically, with the majority of it being sold as fluid milk. On account of this, the Indian dairy industry holds tremendous potential for value-addition and overall development. The dairy sector has seen substantial foreign direct investment constituting about 40% of the Indian Food sector. Milk production is growing at the rate of 2% in the world whereas, in the country its growth rate is more than 6%, India exported 6752.99 MT of dairy products in the form of butter, ghee, cheese, skimmed milk powder worth USD 284.65 million during 2022-23 to Singapore, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Srilanka, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. The FAO data also reveal that more than one billion people's livelihoods are supported by the dairy sector and that dairy is consumed by more than six billion people globally. The focus is being given to value-added products such as cheese, yogurt, probiotic drinks, etc. They are also introducing innovative products keeping in mind the specific requirements of the Indian consumers. These players are also improving their milk procurement network which is further facilitating the development of the dairy industry in India. Looking forward, the market is expected to reach a value of INR 25,491 Billion by 2025, exhibiting a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of around 16% during 2020-2025.


The Government of India has thus also introduced many schemes and incentives aimed at the development of the dairy sector in the country. The National Dairy Programme aims to improve cattle productivity and increase the production of milk expanding and strengthening and expanding the rural milk procurement infrastructure and provide greater market access to the farmers. In this times of Pandemic, a fiscal stimulus of rupees 15,000 crore by the name of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund to support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure has been announced. Another 13, 343 crore has been sanctioned to achieve 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population (total 53 crore animals) against Brucellosis and Foot and Mouth disease.

The ‘World Milk Day' is a day that highlights the importance of the dairy product and how we can include it in our daily diet. As per FAO official website, ‘The Day provides an opportunity to focus attention on milk and to publicize activities connected with milk and the milk industry. On this all important day, all our efforts should be to increase public awareness about every aspect of natural milk such as the origin, nutritional value of milk and its products, and its economic importance throughout the world.


The author writes on agriculture and social issues; can be reached at





The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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