Adopting good dairy farming practices: Need of the Hour
Authors: Dr. H R Meena, Mukesh Kumar and A. P.Verma
Dairy Extension Division, ICAR-NDRI, Karnal-132001


Good Dairy Farming Practices (GDFPs) concept was introduced in 2004 by International Dairy Federation/Food and Agriculture Organization (IDF/FAO) and it was later updated in 2011 (FAO and IDF, 2011). Since the introduction of the concept in 2004, the importance is growing in various countries, and agencies including private, individual farm house or farmers etc. GDFPs underpin the production of milk that satisfies the highest expectations of the food industry and consumers. The international framework to ensure the safety and suitability of milk and milk products is contained in the Codex Recommended International Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene (CAC/RCP 1- 1969, Rev. 4, 2003)1 together with the Codex Code of Hygienic Practice for Milk and Milk Products (CAC/RCP 57-2004). Good dairy farming practices also ensures that the milk is produced by healthy animals in a manner that is sustainable and responsible from the animal welfare, social, economic and environmental perspectives. So implementing good dairy farming practice is good risk management for the short and long term future of the dairy farming enterprise. GDFPs encourages dairy farmers to adopt 'proactive' preventative practices rather than waiting for problems to occur. GDFPs underpin the production of safe, quality-assured dairy products in a sustainable manner which would leverage the future of dairy farming on a local, national and international scale.

Good Dairy Farming Practices

World agriculture in the twenty-first century is faced with three main challenges: 1) to improve food security, rural livelihoods and income; 2) to satisfy the increasing and diversified demands for safe food and other products; and, 3) to conserve and protect natural resources. These challenges have been articulated by the international community through the World Food Summit Plan of Action and the Millennium Development Goals, with specific targets to be met by the year 2015.

The concept of "Good Dairying Practices (GDP)" has evolved in recent years, in the context of a rapidly changing and globalizing food economy as well as the concerns and commitments of a wide range of stakeholders involved in food production and security, food safety and quality, and the environmental sustainability of dairying. These stakeholders represent actors from: supply dimension (farmers, farmers' organizations etc.); demand dimension (retailers, processors and consumers); and those institutions and services (education, research, extension, input supply, etc) that support & connect demand and supply, which trying to meet specific objectives of food security, food quality, production efficiency, livelihoods and environmental conservation.

Key features of GDFPs

• GDFPs takes something of everything because many times in present system if you will go fully with the organic way, then you will not get proper market and price of your product and produce. So, GDFPs also recommends ensuring market under GDFPs.
• Profitability and Responsibility. Responsibility in the sense of protecting human health, animal health, animal welfare and environment.
• Under the umbrella of GDFPs- Clean, Organic, Scientific, Innovative dairy farming practices are covered.
• GDFPs keep the balance among consumer safety and economic, social and environmental management at the farm level.
• GDFPs advocate planned and balanced diet i.e. perfect balance of natural freshly grown feed.
• Nutrient rich and hygienic milk production untouched by human hand (Ideal condition- for milking to bathing of animals). It opens the room of flexibility for small holder farmers.
• Good risk management both short and long term.
• GDFPs encourages dairy farmers to adopt 'proactive' preventative practices rather than waiting for problems to occur.

A Advantages of GDFPs

When adopted, it will support the production and marketing of safe, quality-assured milk and dairy products which will immensely benefit the end users.

Conclusion

India needs to achieve milk production of 150 million tonnes by 2017 to meet the demand of consumers. This requires tremendous efforts from all sides. Adoption of good dairy farming practices would pave the way for achieving the target which requires proper sensitization of all concerned stakeholders.

References
1. FAO and IDF (2011). Guide to good dairy farming practice. Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 8. Rome.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently working as Senior Scientist in Dairy Extension Division, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001 Haryana (India). I have also worked with ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243122 Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh (India) as Scientist for 10 year. Also a recipient of the ICAR's prestigious "The Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Outstanding Extension Scientist Award" in social science.