Observed on June 1 each year since 2001, World Milk Day intends to provide an opportunity to bring attention to activities that are connected with the dairy sector. The day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations aims to recognise the importance of milk as a global food.
The day emphasizes the contributions of the dairy sector towards sustainability, economic development, livelihoods, and nutrition. Several rallies and campaigns are organised all across the world to spread awareness about the importance of milk in the overall well-being of an individual.
This year the public campaigns and events are not conducted due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The fact that many countries choose to do this on the same day lends additional importance to individual national celebrations and shows that milk is a global food.
In 2016, World Milk Day was celebrated in over 40 countries. Activities included marathons and family runs, milking demonstrations and farm visits, school-based activities, concerts, conferences and seminars, competitions, and a range of events focusing on promoting the value of milk and illustrating the important role played by the dairy industry in the national economy.
The Indian date was fixed in 2014 when the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), the Indian Dairy Association (IDA), along with 22 state-level milk federations agreed on this date to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Verghese Kurien, the father of India’s White Revolution. It was a testament to the impact one man has made on the milk supply of a country.
Facts about the White Revolution in India:
- Dr. Varghese Kurien is known as the white man of India aka father of the white revolution. He led India away from less productivity, breaking conventional barriers of caste and gender parity, he also helped in mass production of milk.
- The White Revolution began after India got independence. When Britishers left India after Independence, the country was crying due to milk deficiency. The White Revolution transformed milk deficient nation to a world leader in milk production. The white revolution in India helped dairy –farming. Notably, it became a self –sustaining industry and also, India’s largest rural employment provider.
- The White Revolution was not just about milk production. It was an operation based on the search for excellence in the kind of work done by farmers. It was about good cattle feed, good breeding of milch cattle which gave larger quantities of milk, artificial insemination to ensure that the breeds improved, better packaging to ensure longer life of milk, professional and effective ways of marketing to increase the sale and production of world-class products.
- The revolutionary, ‘Billion-litre idea’ and execution of the world’s largest dairy-agricultural development program, ‘Operation Flood’ transformed India from a nation with potential in the dairy industry to a nation with massive production of milk and dairy products.
- Operation Flood is the program that followed in 1970, initiated by the National Dairy Development Board to speed up “the White Revolution.” It created a national milk grid linking producers throughout India with consumers in over 700 towns and cities, reducing seasonal and regional price variations while ensuring that the producer gets a major share of the price consumers pay, by cutting out middlemen.
On this World Milk Day, we tell you about the various health benefits you can reap from a glass of milk:
- Reduces depression: If you are feeling down with depression, your body might be low on vitamin D. Here cow milk could be a good option for you to get your share of this vitamin. Vitamin D can stimulate the production of serotonin, a hormone that is known to improve your appetite, sleep, and mood.
- Prevents weight gain: Milk’s high protein content helps you stay satiated for a long time that can prevent overeating. Also, several studies suggest that drinking milk regularly can lower your risk of obesity.
- Improves bone health: Milk is loaded with calcium which is an essential mineral for your bone health and teeth. Cow’s milk is usually fortified with vitamin D and the mixture of calcium and vitamin can protect you from the onset of osteoporosis, a condition that leads to weakened bones.
- May prevent certain cancers: According to a Lancet report, people who live in a geographical condition that gets less sunlight are more likely to die from colorectal cancer. This is because these people develop a deficiency of vitamin D. Drinking a glass of milk regularly can provide you sufficient amount of this vitamin that can manage cell growth inside your body, protecting you from cancer.