In a bid to transform the rural economy in Assam through dairy farming, Government of Assam and National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Guwahati for creation of a joint venture for the dairy sector’s holistic development. The foundation stone of Purabi Dairy expansion project was also laid.
The MoU was signed by Meenesh Shah, Chairman, NDDB and Maninder Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Dept. of Cooperation, Govt. of Assam in presence of Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam; Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying; Atul Bora, Minister for Agriculture, AHVD and Cooperation, Govt. of Assam; Dr K Beichhua, Minister for Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Mizoram and Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Govt. of India. The event was also attended by many senior government officials, concerned agencies and dairy farmers.
In his address, Himanta Biswa Sarma said, the target of this joint venture will be to create milk processing capacities to handle and add value to over 10 lakh litres of milk every day. This will not only help more than 1.75 lakh farmers to alleviate their incomes but will also create huge employment at various levels of the milk value chain. The joint venture will set up six dairy processing facilities across Assam, wherein milk from more than 4100 dairy cooperative societies shall be processed, packed and marketed.
Parshottam Rupala mentioned that the new initiative would lead to higher returns for the local dairy farmers, which is a step towards the aim of “doubling farmers’ income”. He further said, as part of this dairy development project, more than 15,000 high milk-yielding Gir cows will be inducted into Assam to ensure higher returns to the state’s dairy farmers. The plan also envisages setting up infrastructure for cattle feed and silage manufacturing within Assam. He stressed on the need for breed improvement of cattle through technology.
Atul Bora, Minister for Agriculture, AHVD and Cooperation, Govt. of Assam said that Government of Assam would ensure financial aid and support to the planned interventions through the concerned departments with the backing of Government of India’s various schemes. This joint venture will be guided, mentored and managed by NDDB.
Atul Chaturvedi informed that the Govt of India focuses on sustainability in the dairy sector while taking into account the environmental, nutritional and socio-economic aspects of dairying. Technological interventions and innovations will usher in not only improvement in productivity but also encourage entrepreneurship. He said, Assam has the potential to become the growth hub for fodder cultivation, which could eventually meet the fodder requirement of fodder deficit states.
Meenesh Shah, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board said that NDDB would introduce technological innovations like sex-sorted semen, ration balancing programme, Ethnoveterinary medicine and manure management projects. NDDB and Government of Assam have played a significant role in applying a broad spectrum of innovations across the dairy value chain leading to the growth of the dairy sector at current levels.
Maninder Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Dept. of Cooperation, Govt. of Assam said that the joint venture’s operations would be self-sustainable, wherein the initial infrastructure would be financially aided and supported under various schemes of the state and Central government for the development of cooperative dairying.
Purabi Dairy expansion project
During the event, Rupala also laid the foundation stone of Purabi Dairy expansion project under World Bank-funded Assam Agribusiness & Rural Transportation Project (APART). As part of the expansion project, Purabi Dairy’s processing capacity shall be upgraded from the existing 60,000 litres per day to 1.5 lakh litres of milk per day. The expansion of the plant at Panjabari in Guwahati will enable Purabi Dairy to increase the production capacity of existing line of products as well as introduce new products like indigenous sweets, ice cream, flavoured milk among other milk products.
During a session, Rupala chaired an interactive session with ministers and representatives of various north-eastern states, government officials, entrepreneurs and farmers. The session was aimed at creating awareness and apprising about the benefits of the revised and realigned schemes of Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Govt. of India. It highlighted various avenues for providing better livelihood to the farmers and help empower the rural economy and growth of the northeast region.
NDDB has been managing West Assam Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union since 2008 and at present WAMUL stands as an exemplary model of a successful dairy cooperative. WAMUL’s management and success so far also shows the importance of transparency and consistency – be it in milk procurement, direct payment to the bank accounts of producers and establishing and expanding markets. Over the years WAMUL has grown from strength to strength in ensuring a remunerative market to dairy farmers, besides providing quality-based value-added products to consumers. The union has achieved sales of around 73,000 litres of packed liquid milk and milk equivalent of products every day under its registered brand name ‘Purabi’.
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