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6 Challenges That Milk Processing Units Face Here's how you can encounter various challenges while establishing and running a milk processing plant

By Abhishek Joshi

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India is the largest producer as well as consumer of milk in the world, though there are many countries which are larger in landscape and population India continues to dominate the world's milk markets. It is estimated that by 2022, India will have annual demand (or production?) of 210-220 million tonnes per year. Though it is one of the things that India should be proud of, there remain continuous reports like the National Milk Quality Survey conducted by FSSAI in 2018 stating that about 49per cent of milk samples tested were non-compliant as per FSSAI standards which is an alarming situation. Indians consider milk to be one of the vital source of protein since a large part of the population in India is vegetarian. Though we are a country with one of the highest production of milk there are challenges that the organised players face in the whole milk collection process. Some of the challenges and how to encounter them are as follows:

  1. Low Yield due to Poor Nutrition for Cattle: One of the big challenges for Indian dairy farmers is the low productivity of our cattle and one big reason for this problem is the improper feed management at our farms. Every cattle, based on its body weight, needs the correct balance of dry fodder, green fodder and other vital nutrients through concentrate feed or other sources and also it is important to provide this consistently throughout the year. Due to the low availability of adequate green fodder to lack of awareness about feeding practices leads to improper diets for the cattle which results in the cattle not reaching its full potential in milk yield. It is important to create awareness in the farmers about the right feeding practices and also provide them with good quality cattle feed.

  2. Preventive Care and Proper Treatment Against Diseases: Due to poor farm management practices the incidences of diseases is much higher and this leads to loss of milk production which is an economic loss for the farmer and then eventually for the milk processor. Therefore it is extremely important that a huge focus is put on preventive care such as timely vaccination. But also if the cattle fall ill it needs to be treated with the right medication after getting expert medical advice. It is important that the milk processing companies organise regular health check-up camps for the benefit of their farmers and their cows and buffaloes.

  3. Test for Antibiotics: There is a trend suggesting increased use of antibiotics in the cattle which eventually leads to the presence of antibiotics in the milk we will consume and that is going to be harmful to us. Therefore as milk processors, we need to ensure that we collect and use only antibiotic-free milk for making milk products and do not expose our consumers to the potentially harmful effects of antibiotics. It is very important to test the milk for antibiotics in the in-house lab of the factory on a daily basis before it is sent for further processing. Also, it is important to educate the dairy farmers do not use antibiotics for any and every disease that the animal faces. With the focus on preventive care and reduction in the use of antibiotics, we can ensure better quality and safe milk procurement.

  4. Clean Milk Production: It is the duty of milk processing units to educate the farmers and hold regular meetings with farmers to train them about clean and hygienic milk practices. Some simple steps regarding the cleanliness of the animal surrounding, hygiene of the milking person, collecting milk in clean containers etc. will massively help in keeping a very low bacterial count which means high-quality milk. Clean milk production means healthier milk for consumers.

  5. Adulteration in Milk: Our country is facing a huge challenge of adulteration in both raw milk collection and final milk products as also established in the FSSAI study conducted in 2018. For small economic gains, some people engage in adulteration of milk which could be extremely harmful to the end consumers. Loose milk being sold directly to consumers in cities and towns is at high risk of adulteration of harmful substances. In the organised sector, it is imperative for milk processing units to ensure that 100 per cent of milk is procured directly from known sources only and there should be a proper mechanism to instantly check for adulteration at each milk collection centre. After this milk reaches the processing unit, more adulteration checks need to be done to ensure that there is no contamination in milk while in transit. At Rufil dairy this matter is taken very seriously and each farmer's milk is tested on special equipment for all types of adulterants. It is important to test and reject the adulterated milk right at the source and every milk processor should strive to achieve this in their system.

  6. Chill and Store: Milk storage starts from milk collection point and if the milk is held at ambient temperature for long duration then the milk quality deteriorates. Therefore it is very important that quick chilling of milk is done at the source itself to preserve the freshness of the milk and adoption of this system helps a lot in improving milk quality. The milk collection system followed by most companies doesn't have cooling systems at village level centres but now few organised companies are partially trying the Bulk Milk Colling (BMC) system where the milk is cooled to 4 deg C in tanks at collection centres in a short time. However few companies like Rufil have adopted modern technology with 100per cent BMC model in which once the milk is tested for quality then it directly goes to their Bulk Milk Cooler. In a couple of hours, the milk is chilled and the freshness and quality of milk remain intact.

Milk market in India is divided into an organized and unorganized market where around 65 per cent - 70 per cent markets are unorganized and rest about 25 per cent - 30 per cent market is organized. However, due to more urbanization, increased awareness and consumer consciousness towards the quality of products, consumers now are highly concerned about what they are actually eating and drinking. This is the reason for the growth of the organised sector in the dairy industry and it is expected that more and more consumers will shift to the safe packaged products. Hopefully, there will be a day when India will remain at the top of charts for milk production and consumption and at the same time, quality will be a synonym for Indian milk.

Abhishek Joshi

Managing Director, Rufil

Abhishek Joshiheads Rajendra & Ursula Joshi Food Industries Pvt. Limited (Rufil) where he oversees the entire process of this new venture from the grassroots level to the executive stage. Revered in his processing and production plant, Mr. Abhishek Joshi is a visionary who is of the opinion that not just Jaipurites but the entire country is entitled to fresh and pure milk and dairy products at a reasonable price.

Mr. Abhishek Joshi acquired his Masters in Management from Warwick Business School after completing his bachelor’s degree from LNMIIT Jaipur. He may be the youngest MD at the RUJ Group but his dedication towards building trust among consumers by delivering the best products certainly puts him in the same league with his counterparts in the company’s different ventures. Carrying the legacy of RUJ Group forward with Rufil, which intends to produce high-quality products, Mr. Abhishek Joshi‘s philosophy of purity, precision and empowerment is just what the mother company, RUJ stands for. 

Since childhood, he always used to visit his uncle, Dr. Rajendra Joshi in Switzerland where he used to always enjoy Swiss yogurts.  He was always inspired by the level of expertise the Swiss maintained in producing their dairy products. This drove him to conceptualize Rufil - his ambitious project that will replicate Swiss quality and perfection. He aims to provide not just the best products in Jaipur or Rajasthan, but the entire country in the years to come. Mr. Abhishek Joshi currently lives in Jaipur where he takes active part in the production of the company’s products and sees to Rufil’s commitment to providing the best products.

A dedicated family man, Mr. Abhishek inculcates the same values with all his employees. His belief that family comes first is a clear indicator of how the work culture in Rufil is. He is married to Shikha Joshiwho is also an Engineer and Management graduate by education, is an avid traveler and a voracious reader,and they have a three year old child. Employees are as important at his company thanks to his approachability and a hands-on personal equation with his staff. In his free time, Mr. Abhishek Joshi likes to dabble in.He himself is a sports enthusiast and so he focuses on his fitness and wishes to contribute in the same way through producing the national health drink, i.e., milk.

Before becoming the MD of Rufil, Mr. Abhishek Joshi was working as a Strategy Consultant atErnst & Young based in London.

Mr.Joshi takes pride in Rufil’s pledge to be the best in the country. He says, “We workon the BMC model for milk collection where milk samples are first checked and only if they are approved, it is taken into BMCs and transferred to the plant where once again the sample is checked which is carried out to ensure zero tolerance towards milk adulteration.” 

Rufil’s production capacity is currently 50,000 Litersper Day (LPD) with a scope to increase to 100,000 LPD. The plant will generate about 150 direct employments, about 100 contractual employments, around 100 agencies, and a network of about 1,200 farmers and about 1,500 retailers in the next three years. Rufil plans to cover the entire state of Rajasthan by expanding their retail presence by 2019.

The nephew of Dr. Rajendra Joshi, Mr. Abhishek idolizes the senior Joshi because of his strict principles on quality, precision, and passion. He is fully and passionately dedicated towards making Rufil the leader in the food sector.  

His motto in life is to do things that excite you, and always keep it simple, something that reflects on his portfolio as Managing Director,Rufil.

Under the patronage of his uncle– an acclaimed scientist who is the founder of RUJ – a multi-faceted mother company that believes in purity and precision, Rufil aims to capture the market with their catch phrase Zara Hatke – products which are different from the rest. Abhishek Joshi takes pride in the fact that Rufil will process and manufacture the best and purest dairy products.

He is young, dynamic and willing to adapt to change. It is safe to say that Rufil will flourish under his able guidance and leadership. He has the advantage of being not just qualified and able, but alsobeing a breath of fresh air in a cutthroat industry. He is a true inspiration to leaders in this sector and also a driving force to be reckoned with.

Because of his strong ambition to bring a large variety of value added products to the Indian consumers, Abhishek left his job at EY London and went for a 3 week training at a Swiss Yogurt Manufacturing plant to understand in depth the Swiss way of milk collection, factory operations and how to make Swiss style yogurts. This experience trained him well on the critical aspects of milk processing business and this is being adopted at Rufil. Abhishek is a strong promoter of R&D and Innovation at Rufil and believes that now in India the stage is set for products that deliver something new, something different.

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