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Goodricke taste for dairy

Calcutta, April 18: Tea major Goodricke Group Ltd is planning to foray into the dairy business, for which it will seek the RBI’s approval.

A two-year research-based project on dairy in north Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district is slated to end this June.

“We are a company formed under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and have the licence to do tea and related business. To diversify, we will need to take the permission of the RBI. We will apply within this year,” A.N. Singh, managing director and CEO of Goodricke, said on the sidelines of the company’s 36th annual general meeting.

Goodricke is eyeing 15-20 acres at Lakhipara in Jalpaiguri for the project. It may have to invest about Rs 1 crore to set up infrastructure and Rs 50,000 on each cow.

Under the research-based project, the company produces about 500 litres of milk per day from about 124 hybrid cows. The larger project, according to Singh, would involve a minimum of 2,000 cattle to be brought in from north India, driving up milk production to about 10,000 litres a day.

Rearing cattle for the business will help the company to get access to manure for its tea gardens, significantly reducing the use of expensive fertiliser, as well as target the milk powder market.

“To turn organic, we will need cow dung. This will help to reduce the fertiliser load, which constitutes about 5-6 per cent of our total cost. This should be a five-year project,” he said.

Though the details of the powdered milk project are yet to be worked out, Singh said there was good demand overseas, and the company had received enquiries from Japan.

Meanwhile, Goodricke has set a target of 23 million kg for tea in 2012 compared with 20.5 million kg now. It is also open to acquiring gardens in Assam.

 
 
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