"Currently, there is no national breeding centre in the country for development of cattle and buffalo. So, we have decided to set up National Khamdenu Breeding Centres with an outlay of Rs 50 crore," Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said while addressing a CII event on dairy sector.

The government is looking for land to set up one such centre each in north and south India. The purpose of the centre is to raise productivity of indigenous cattle and buffalo in a scientific manner, he said.

Instead of going for foreign breeds for higher milk yields, the minister said that there was need to improve the productivity and quality of milk from indigenous cattle and buffalo, thereby improving the additioanl income of farmers.

The government is focusing more on promoting indigenous cattle breeds to meet future milk demand, Singh said, adding that the government has launched 'Rashtriya Gokul Mission' with an outlay of Rs 500 crore to conserve and develop indigenous breeds.

The country's milk production was 137.67 million tones in 2013-14. The output is required to be raised by 6 million tonnes every year to meet growing demand by 2025, he said.

A meeting of state agriculture and animal husbandry ministers has been called on September 18 to discuss the ways to develop the dairy sector, he added.

Highlighting the challenges of raising milk production, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Department Secretary Anup Kumar Thakur said more efforts are required to be made in improving feed and fodder supply for livestock.

There is also need to take new technologies developed by government research bodies like ICAR to farmers. Besides, the government would like to see thriving cooperative sector and robus private sector participation in this sector, he added.

While expressing concern over lack of procurement of surplus milk in the country, National Diary Development Board Chairman T Nandakumar said a large quantity of milk still remains unprocessed by companies and this issue need to be addressed urgenly.

Increased investment, trained manpower, linking dairy farmers to markets and improving fodder supply are some of the challenges that the government needs to work on, he said.

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