India’s National Dairy Development Board is working with the government of Maharashtra to implement the Vidarbha and Marathwada dairy development projects, including small and marginal dairy farmers in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra.
NDDB initiatives have enhanced the income of more than 91,000 farmers by providing fair consumer prices, it says.
Shri Dilip Rath, chairman of the NDDB says, “Vidarbha and Marathwada have been the most drought affected regions, making it agriculturally distressed; therefore dairying in such adverse climatic conditions can create additional sources for livelihood of farmers. NDDB, through its subsidiary Mother Dairy, set up milk procurement infrastructure to facilitate the larger objective of rural prosperity by providing better remuneration to the farmers of the region.”
An MOU was signed in 2013 between the NDDB and the government of Maharashtra for taking up dairy development in the drought prone Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, in order to make dairying a source of sustainable livelihood and poverty alleviation for milk producers. The project refurbished the Nagpur Dairy plant, which has milk processing capacity of 200,000 litres per day.
Under the project, on an average 185,000 litres of milk is procured every day at 1,454 milk pooling points (MPPs) and products are being supplied to more than 2,350 milk booths franchisee outlets and retailers in about 40 cities. At present, milk is being procured from dairy farmers residing in around 2,503 villages of 10 districts: Amravati, Yavatmal, Wardha, Nagpur, Chandrapur and Buldhana, in Vidarbha and Nanded, Osmanabad, Latur and Jalna in Marathwada. An electronic weighing/testing facility is deployed to ensure a transparent system wherein farmers can observe the weight, quality results and value of their milk poured. A computerised printed slip is provided to each farmers and they receive their payments directly in their bank accounts, which ensures transparency. It is to be noted that almost 30% of the members are women and a further emphasis is being laid to increase their participation.
To enhance the milk production and further increase dairy farmers’ income, good quality cattle feed is being provided to members covering 319 villages and mineral mixture to members covering 265 villages. Conserving green fodder in the form of silage is one of the best options available to ensure regular supply of quality fodder to bovines, especially during lean season. Farmers are also being trained in silage making.
Besides providing liquid milk to the consumers, Mother Dairy has launched products such as curd, mishti doi/yogurt, buttermilk milk, Tadka chhaas, ghee, orange burfi, sweets, flavoured milk, milk shake, tetra lassi, lassi fresh, ice cream, butter, paneer, cheese, dairy whitener, UHT milk, UST cream, Safal products and Dhara edible oils. Its daily value added product sales have already reached 6,800kg.
NDDB, in collaboration with All India Radio, has also launched Radio Samvad – an awareness series on radio for dairy farmers of the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions. Every Tuesday and Friday, a 30-minute episode is broadcast from Nagpur, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Osmanabad and Nanded radio stations on subjects related to scientific dairy animal management. Subject experts from NDDB are conducting the sessions in which dairy farmers are taking a keen interest.