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Medha milk’s autonomous muscle
- National board gone, state to launch dairy cooperative

Ranchi, Jan. 2: Jharkhand will walk the autonomous milky way to prosperity in 2013 after parting ways with National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in December.

In a bid to strike out on its own, the state government is working to launch Jharkhand State Milk Producers’ Co-operative Federation Limited early next year on the lines of Bihar State Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited (COMPFED). If state dairy wing (animal husbandry department) officials are to be believed, the finance department has cleared a proposal in this regard.

If all goes well, Jharkhand’s fledgling brand Medha will take on Bihar’s biggie Sudha.

“The file is now set to be placed before the next Cabinet meeting. If all goes well, this (Federation) will be our gift to all milk producers of the state, whose incomes will definitely rise,” a senior official of the department said, adding the outfit was indeed a much-needed initiative to make the state self-sufficient in dairy industry.

As envisaged now, the state co-operative will hold an autonomous status and be run and supervised by representatives of milk producers across the state. “All the state’s dairy projects and plans, branding and marketing strategies will be devised in tandem with them. Overall, both the masses and stakeholders in the dairy industry will benefit a lot,” he said.

Deputy director (dairy) Mukul Prasad Singh, looking after state dairy initiative, came on record to say that the co-operative plan is in the offing but refrained from volunteering information.

“Till the project gets Cabinet nod it is difficult to say anything,” he said. “But yes, the proposal is waiting to be placed before the Cabinet for the final nod.”

Singh claimed that the dairy outlook would improve considerably after the five-year contract with NDDB expired on December 6, 2012.

“The state had roped in the NDDB five years ago to boost dairy prospects. As part of the agreement, NDDB had a milk collection target of 65,000-litre from dairy farmers and had to process them in the Ormanjhi plant and market them. A dairy network was to be initiated in six districts. But the board could achieve this in only three districts — Ranchi, Ramgarh and Lohardaga. Most importantly, a one-lakh litre milk capacity processing plant was to be set up in Hotwar, which remained a non-starter,” the deputy director (dairy) said.

On demand-supply figures, Singh said that Jharkhand currently produced around 15 lakh MT a year, far short of the 25 lakh MT requirement. “Had the Hotwar dairy project kicked off, matters would have been different,” he said. Singh added that the board failed miserably on all fronts. “They did nothing to establish the dairy network and improve milk production capacity. Their contract expired on December 6 and we formally took over on December 11,” he said.

But he sounded optimistic about the future. “In the last 10 days, we managed to collect 7,500 litres of milk daily and market around 7,000 litres. By January, we will achieve the 10,000-litre mark and by April it will double. I toured the districts to understand the situation last week,” he said.


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