India is the largest producer of milk in the world and, according to a report by the IMARC Group, the dairy market was valued at Rs 9,168 billion in 2018 and will reach Rs 21,971 billion by 2024.
However, this crown comes with a weight. Challenges like adulteration, breeding systems and shortage of nutritious fodder for cattle has plagued the animal husbandry and dairy industry for long.
In fact, the National Milk Safety and Quality Survey 2018 showed that 12 out of 6,432 samples of milk tested were found unsafe for human consumption due to adulteration. A major finding in the survey was the presence of Aflatoxin M1 residues beyond permissible limits in 368 (out of 6,432) samples -- a significant 5.7 percent. Aflatoxin M1 enters the milk through feed and fodder, the manufacturing mechanisms for which are currently unregulated.
Moreover, the campaign against single-use plastic by the government, the need for quick genetic gain and outdated technology has prompted a need for innovative and commercially-viable solutions for the industry.
To help bridge this gap, Startup India, along with the Department of Animal Husbandry is hosting the Animal Husbandry Startup Grand Challenge. The challenge was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a national animal disease control programme held at Mathura in September, inviting startups across India to find solutions to six problem statements affecting the dairy and animal husbandry sector.
What’s the challenge?
From e-commerce solutions for modern infrastructure and ideas for green fodder to innovative techniques for value-added dairy products, Startup India and the Department of Animal Husbandry have identified six problem areas plaguing the industry, throwing the doors open for startups to submit innovative solutions.
1. Single-use plastic alternatives: Using environment-friendly alternatives to replace single-use polythene in the dairy sector.
2. Eliminate milk adulteration: Tackling contamination in the dairy sector.
3. Breed improvement and animal nutrition: Use of innovative technologies for quick genetic gain among Indian breeds of cattle and buffalos, and new varieties of green fodder and enriched animal feed.
4. Value-added products: Introduce value-added dairy products viz. cheese, smoothies, flavoured milk, custard, yoghurt, and other ethnic Indian products using innovative techniques for domestic as well as export markets.
5. E-commerce solutions: Encouraging innovations to provide modern digital infrastructure and advisory services across the country.
6. Product traceability: Using technologies to track the journey of dairy products from farm-to- fork.
How to apply
The challenge is open on the Startup India portal and is open to all startups recognised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Interested startups must apply by November 15, 2019.
To recognise, celebrate and support the best ideas, a winner and runner-up for each of the six problem statements will be announced on November 30 with a cash grant of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 7 lakh, respectively. And this is not the only incentive. The winners will also be provided with incubation and mentorship opportunities and other support.