ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Accounting for the Diversity in Dairy Farming

“Economics of Dairy Farming in India” by M Dinesh Kumar and O P Singh (EPW, 14 October 2017), provided an analytical and conceptual critique for a special article co-authored by the current author, “Do Producers Gain from Selling Milk? An Economic Assessment of Dairy Farming in Contemporary India” (EPW, 24 June 2017). The author reiterates some of the issues implicit in the special article in order to stimulate further questions on these issues.

Bias in regional coverage, “silence” on some valuation issues within a farming system approach, inconsistency with macro-tendencies, and negl­ect of nutrition value were some of the flaws pointed out by the discussion article, “Economics of Dairy Farming in India” (EPW, 14 October 2017), in the earlier special article, “Do Producers Gain from Selling Milk? An Economic Assessment of Dairy Farming in Contemporary India” (EPW, 24 June 2017) co-authored by the author. Limitations and abstractions, inevitable in any research, have been transparently laid out in the special article. All figures reported were “estimates” and further research, surely, can offer improvements. Moreover, the broad objective of the article was to capture some contemporary scenarios of the dairy sector based on sample surveys, rather than making any general statement about the economic benefit of the dairy sector in the country. And the regional coverages and sample sizes have been clearly documented in the article for readers to make their own inferences.

Although sample and sub-sample averages can help in summarising the key indicators, these hardly dissemble the heterogeneities within the sample. With the meth­odology used in the article, it is patent that northern India performed better economically as compared to the eastern states, but there are wide divergences even within the nor­th­ern region as there are between the eastern states. Delhi, for instance, stands out as most profitable in dairy, but the benefits come at a high ecological cost of maintaining villages and livestock within the confines of a congested city. Such cases are likely to abound in other cities too. Success stories on dairy are much more commonly documented in research-based reports, but the article exposes the vulnerabilities of the sector.

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Updated On : 3rd May, 2019
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