Nagaon, Aug. 29: The Dhemaji administration has embarked on a special project to increase milk production in the district.
The project includes forming a federation of milkmen, setting up a hi-tech milk processing and pasteurisation plant at the main milk zone with all facilities, including transport, and support to households involved in milk-related activities.
The project, under special assistance from Dispur, will be conducted in coopera- tion with line departments, including veterinary and rural development. The local administration will monitor the work.
Deputy commissioner M.S. Manivannan said 200 farmers in 20 groups are initially involved in the programme. These groups are being trained by experts in three phases — the third phase will get over on Saturday — to make them accustomed to the scientific concept of milk production.
“Each member was given a cross-breed Holstein Friesians cow with a calf. From day one, they started earning by selling milk as they were given lactating cows. A participatory approach was considered as cowsheds and fodder cultivation were established by the groups themselves. All supplementary equipment were provided to the farmers’ groups to help them sell their product,” Manivannan said.
The processing plant will be set up at Silapathar, 30km from the Dhemaji district headquarters, and packaged milk will be sold in the market possibly with the help of self-help groups, he added.
District veterinary officer Pallab Kumar Duwarah said that the entire process (from assisting the farmers to retail packaged milk) will be conducted under the joint supervision of local administration and the veterinary department for maximum benefit.
“There will be a station where farmers will store milk. Our vehicles will reach the stations and purchase milk at a fixed rate. Within a deadline, milk will reach the processing plant where it will be packaged and finally outsourced in the market,” Dwara said.
he said 150 cross-breed cows had been handed over to the farmers and another 50 were in the pipeline.
“We have held several rounds of discussions with the beneficiaries and self-help groups. We are in the final stages of forming the federation. Initially, farmers will continue milking and sell their products locally. Collection of milk from farmers will begin once the processing plant is commissioned,” Manivannan said.