Friday, June 24, 2022

India should not include dairy products in free trade pact with any country: Sanjeev Balyan

Sanjeev Balyan was addressing an event to announce IDF World Day Summit to be held in September 12-15 at India Expo Centre & Mart

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New Delhi: Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Ministry is of the view that milk and dairy products should not be included in any free trade agreements India enters with a country or geographical grouping, said Union minister of state Sanjeev Balyan.

Sanjeev Balyan was addressing an event to announce IDF World Day Summit to be held in September 12-15 at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida. The event is being held in India after nearly five decades under the theme “dairy for nutrition and livelihood.”

About 1,500 stakeholders, including dairy farmers, dairy product manufacturers, scientists, and dairy association officials from over 40 milk-producing countries are expected.

“Our ministry wants that milk and dairy products should not be included in the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs),” Sanjeev Balyan told reporters while replying to a query on this issue.

Recently, the commerce ministry said India will not provide import duty concession under the FTA with Australia on 29.8 per cent of its tariff lines or product categories, including dairy products, food grains, precious metals, jewellery and most of the medical devices.

Balyan highlighted that India is the largest milk producer in the world with an annual output of 210 million tonnes. He said the dairy sector is growing at 6 per cent and around 8 crore families are involved in this sector. The sector helps in the generation of additional income for farmers.

Sanjeev Balyan said the NDDB (National Dairy Development Board) is promoting dairy co-operatives across the country.

The minister said that the government has launched many schemes to promote this sector and also announced a special scheme to control the spread of foot and mouth disease among livestock. Balyan stressed breed development to boost milk output and also reduce the cost of production.

The minister said the input cost has increased and milk prices should rise in line with that. However, he said there is a need to protect consumers’ interests as well. Balyan asked states to take action against the adulteration of milk.

Atul Chaturvedi, secretary, department of animal husbandry and dairying, said the dairy exports increased by 100 per cent during the last fiscal year. He noted that 70-80 per cent of the consumer prices are passed to farmers.

NDDB’s Chairman Meenesh Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to inaugurate the IDF World Day Summit.

IDF president Piercristiano Brazalle and Director General Caroline Emond were also present at the event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summit is being held after a gap of two years.

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