The 93rd birth anniversary of the father of white revolution in India, Dr Varghese Kurien, was celebrated as National Milk Day at National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) here, in which experts from India and abroad emphasised on developing iron fortified milk to curb the problem of anaemia and malnutrition in the country.
Addressing scientists, Prof Harjinder Singh, co-director, Riddet Institute, and director, Massey Institute of Food Science & Nutrition, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, counted the importance of iron in milk and said, “No doubt the fortification of iron in milk is little difficult, but with the help of technology that he invented iron can be fortified easily in milk and other dairy products.”
He said this technology would help combat iron deficiencies in human beings particularly in women and children in the world.
Meanwhile, he also inaugurated an eight-day model training course on “Capacity building of extension functionaries on climate resilient livestock farming”.
Highlighting the gruesome picture of iron deficiency in the country, Director, NDRI, Dr AK Srivastava said around 80 per cent of women of reproductive age in India suffer from iron deficiency, which was an alarming situation for the country and the scientists should focus on iron fortified milk and milk products.
The technology developed by Prof Singh would be helpful in this direction to overcome the problem of iron deficiencies in India, he maintained.
Paying tributes to Dr Kurien, he said, “We have to carry forward the work of Dr Kurien as only 7-8 per cent of milk is processed in the co-operative sector so far in India. For the benefit of dairy farmers, the percentage of milk handled in the co-operative sector has to increase.”
Dr RK Malik, joint director, research, highlighted the works done by Dr Kurien and said he had done lots of works for the uplift of poor dairy farmers of the country.
“Just because of the efforts of Dr Kurien, India is number one in milk production in the world,” he asserted.
On the occasion two scientists from University of Queensland, Australia, Dr Bhesh Bhandari and Dr Sangeeta Prakash, also shared their thoughts and research work being carried out to make the dairy products more nutritious.