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Uttarakhand to strengthen dairy farming sector

To check forced hill migration, the state government has initiated “drastic measures” to boost farmers’ income by helping them to “rejuvenate” the fast dwindling dairy sector under a centrally sponsored project that had been launched from Uttarakhand

dehradun Updated: Apr 30, 2018 21:37 IST
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand is able to procure only 6 percent of the marketable surplus milk compared to Gujarat (64 percent) and Karnataka (46 per cent).(HT File Photo)

To check forced hill migration, the state government has initiated “drastic measures” to boost farmers’ income by helping them to “rejuvenate” the fast dwindling dairy sector under a centrally sponsored project that had been launched from Uttarakhand.

“We have initiated a multiplicity of interventions to rejuvenate the dairy sector so that the milk yield in the state goes up. The step would give a boost to farmers’ income and consumers would also be benefited in the process,” said R Meenkshi Sundaram, cooperatives, dairy and animal husbandry secretary.

“The objective of the project is to augment the farmers’ income so that the distress migration from the hills could be checked,” he said.

Sundaram said initiatives to rejuvenate the dairy sector were being taken under the ₹410 crore M-TRAC (Mission for Transformation of Rural and Agricultural sector through Cooperatives).

“It (M-TRAC) has been initiated in Uttarakhand as a test lab case as part of a ₹2,600 crore centrally sponsored project, which is being implemented in the state,” he said.

The project, Sundaram said, was being implemented under an initiative by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

Under that mission (M-TRAC), the state milk cooperative federation (Aanchal) would be restructured and strengthened, so that “it is able to help farmers” increase the milk yield.

“The idea is to rid the dairy sector of a multiplicity of problems it is beset with, so that farmers have enough marketable surplus milk,” Sundaram said.

“The rise in the marketable surplus milk would not only help augment their income but that will also be a win-win situation for consumers and Aanchal.”

According to him, Uttarakhand is able to procure only 6% of the marketable surplus milk compared to Gujarat (64%) and Karnataka (46%).

“The mountain state figures among the lowest marketable surplus milk procuring states owing to a number of factors,” Sundaram said.

Elaborating, he said “part of the problem is that the milk yield of the 80% of the cattle in the state is” very low.

“Besides, most of the marketable surplus milk yield is procured by the competitors in the organised sectors like Amul, which are functioning in our territory,” Sundaram said, adding Aanchal also “faces” tough competition from the competitors in the unorganised sector like milkmen.

“Then it faces an unfair competition from other elements (in the unorganised sector) who sell synthetic and adulterated milk especially in Dehradun and Haridwar,” he said.

Sundaram said a number of “drastic measures are being taken under the M-TRACK to ensure that milk yield goes up and Aanchal is able to procure the maximum marketable surplus milk”.

Efforts were also on to reorganise the state milk cooperative federation. “One of the complaints against the village level primary units of Aachal is that they do not make timely payments to farmers in lieu of milk supplied to them,” Sundaram said.

To address the problem, he said all those primary level units would be given some working capital so, they could make timely payments to milk producers.

“Besides, all those village level units of the milk federation would be equipped with a state-of-the-art device for fat measurement of milk,” Sundaram said referring to the Data Processing Milk Collection Unit (DPMCU).

“The foolproof device which can’t be tampered with at all will take care of the common complaints that fat measurement of milk procured by those manning the primary units of Aanchal is mostly incorrect.”

Under the scheme, some 20,000 high milk yielding varieties of cattle would be provided to farmers in the next two years.

“Plans are also afoot to scale up the supply of silage (a kind of preserved nutritious fodder) to enhance the milk yield of cattle,” he said.

“Under the scheme, a breed improvement programme is also on so that high milk yielding varieties of cattle could be produced to enhance the farmers’ income.”

First Published: Apr 30, 2018 21:37 IST