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India is the world's top milk consumer, but its fragmented and low-tech dairy industry has a productivity problem.   © Reuters
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KIRAN SHARMA, Nikkei staff writer | India

NEW DELHI -- Prahlad Kumawat is all too familiar with the bitter irony of Indian dairy farming. In a country that considers cows sacred and where people consume far more milk than anywhere else on earth, production is painfully inefficient.

Kumawat keeps eight animals in the dusty northwestern village of Daulatpura. When they are lactating, he sells 20 to 30 liters of milk a day, earning around 20,000 rupees ($280) per month. But he struggles to survive long stretches when his cows are not producing at all. "It's not easy to run a household by only selling milk," Kumawat said.

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