India to be world’s biggest milk producer by 2026 (Lead, correcting headline)

United Nations, July 29 (IANS) India is projected to become the world’s biggest milk producer over the next decade, having tripled its output during the first quarter of this century, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD) has revealed.

India’s milk output, which was 160.38 million tonnes in 2016, is expected to reach 227.78 million tonnes by 2026, according to the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026 report released here this week.

The number of cows is projected to increase from 122.5 million to 227.78 million during the decade, the report said.

It said India’s milk output in 2026 would be one-third higher than that of the second largest producer, the European Union (EU).

“This remarkable growth is achieved with yields below 2 tonnes per head, far below EU or US levels,” the report noted.

Nutritionally, Indians are projected to make a breakthrough during the 10 years to 2026, according to the report.

The annual consumption of fresh dairy products, which was around 80.74 kg per person in 2016, is expected to shoot up to 106.94 kg by 2026.

Overall, the total calories available per person per day is projected to increase to 2,730 kilocalories (kcal) by 2026, up from the 2,442 kcal last year.

Wheat production, which was 92.29 million tonnes last year, would rise to 106.83 million tonnes in 2026, while the area under cultivation would go up from 29 million hectares last year to 31.9 million hectares in 2026, the report said.

Rice production is projected to increase from 108.86 million tonnes last year to 2016 million tonnes by 2026, the report said. During the period, area under rice was expected to increase marginally from 44.65 million hectares to 44.81 million hectares, it added.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in)

–IANS

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