US agribusiness giant, Cargill, yesterday (November 6) announced plans to invest US$240m in India over the next five years.
The announcement was made by Peter Van Deursen, CEO Cargill Asia Pacific, at the World Food India Conference.The capital outlay will cover the Minnesota headquartered group\u2019s core businesses including, edible oil, cocoa and chocolates, starches and sweeteners and animal nutrition in India.\u00a0A spokesperson for Cargill did not disclose the percentage breakdown of the likely spend per segment, but told us:\u201cThis investment reinforces how important India is to Cargill, overall, and to our animal nutrition business.\u201d\u200bLast year, Cargill inaugurated its first wet corn milling plant in India; set up with an investment of US$100 million.Dairy dynamism\u00a0The company also inaugurated a new dairy feed mill in Bathinda, Punjab, in 2016, a project in which it invested some $10m. That plant, it said at the time, would look to produce 10,000 metric tons of feed per month and feed 75,000 cows per day.Cargill told us previously it is aiming to create awareness among the dairy farming community in India about the advantages that conversion to standardized, commercial feed inputs can bring. It has been working with dairy producers there to optimize farm management techniques and boost milk productivity.Dairy is a primary source of protein in India, given that a high percentage of the population is vegetarian. Milk-based paneer, ghee, yogurt and sauces are all staples of daily life, making the country both the largest consumer and the largest producer of dairy in the world.More than 90% of India\u2019s milk production is concentrated in 14 states – the top five states are Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Punjab, according to a USDA report from 2016\u200b\u200b.In general, milk productivity of dairying animals in India is very low in comparison to global standards.The average milk yield of indigenous cattle and water buffaloes is 2.5 and 5.2 Kg per day respectively, and the average milk yield for exotic/crossbred cattle is 7.2 kg per day, per Government of India (GOI) data for 2014/15. The yield is significantly less than that of 22 and 28 kg per day in UK and US respectively.The lower milk yield is mainly due to low genetic potential, lack of nutritional feeds and inadequate veterinary services, said the USDA.