NDDB’s developmental initiatives to boost West Bengal’s rural economy: Dilip Rath

NDDB’s developmental initiatives to boost West Bengal’s rural economy: Dilip Rath

Kolkata, 27 July 2018: Shri Dilip Rath, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) laid the foundation stone for a model DCS building of Chowrangi Women Dairy Cooperative Society (Basanti, South 24 Paraganas district) in presence of Shri Parash Dutta, Chairman, West Bengal Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd and Shri Anil Verma, Principal Secretary, Animal Resources Development, Govt of West Bengal. The women milk producers of Chowrangi WDCS now believe that dairying is not only a tool for women’s liberation, but can also boost up the rural economy. Speaking at the event in Sonarpur’s Jaihind auditorium, Shri Rath said that West Bengal needs to diversify from traditional agriculture to dairy farming and allied activities on a large scale.

NDDB plans to adopt this DCS to make it a model dairy cooperative society. The DCS is affiliated to Sundarban Cooperative Milk & Livestock Producers’ Union Ltd. Presently, 61 pourer members pours around 104 litres of milk to the society. Apart from milk, Sona mung dal, Dhudheswar rice, Govindobhog Rice, indigenous hen & duck eggs are being procured at Chowrangi DCS.

Keeping in view the role of digital innovation in strengthening cooperative business, NDDB has developed an integrated Automatic Milk Collection System (AMCS) software for dairy cooperatives. On the request of West Bengal Govt, NDDB has installed AMCS software in DCSs affiliated to Sundarban Cooperative Milk & Livestock Producers’ Union Ltd. While launching the software, Chairman, NDDB said that apart from introducing transparency in operations the software will improve process efficiency and provide real time information to dairy cooperatives. AMCS enables milk bill payment directly to farmers’ bank accounts. Farmers get instant SMSs for every transaction and have access to all past transactions with AMCS android application.

Focusing on the event theme Sustainable Development through Women Dairy Cooperative, Shri Rath said that dairy cooperatives should come forward to create new opportunities for self-employment in the rural areas. NDDB has been making continuous efforts towards a number of such interventions. It could either be dairy based, agriculture or allied as resources for the same are easily available in rural areas. Experts from NDDB highlighted techniques of ethno veterinary medicine (EVM).

Chairman, NDDB visited the Chowrangi Women DCS at Basanti and interacted with the women milk producers.

Sundarban Cooperative Milk & Livestock Producers’ Union Ltd

Since inception in 1997, the Sundarban Cooperative Milk & Livestock Producers’ Union Ltd. functioned seasonally for about 4-6 months in a year due adverse geographical conditions. Deficient dairy infrastructure forced the milk union to stop operations in 2014. In November 2015, with NDDB’s guidance and technical support, the Sundarban Cooperative Milk & Livestock Producers’ Union Ltd started its revival plan.

The milk union took up the mission of empowering small and marginal women farmers engaged in dairy/livestock and agriculture farming in Sundarban. Procurement of almost all agricultural produce of farmers such as milk, indigenous duck and hen eggs, indigenous rice, pulses, forest honey were started at DCSs to arrest exploitation by middle-men and stop distress selling. The union became the first organic milk & livestock union in the country. Availability of quality and hygienic food to the consumers were stressed.

Presently, Sundarban Milk Union, popularly known as Sundarini (South 24 Paraganas district of West Bengal) has 70 Women DCS covering 3500 women farmers with peak milk procurement of over 4000 Kg per day from 7 blocks. The prominent feature of Sundarban Milk Union is that a milk producer has to submit the “Know Your Farmer” (KYF) information (including bank account & identity proof) to become a DCS member. Every milk sample gets tested at DCS level in presence of farmer with acknowledgement slip. 100% payment is done to individual Bank Account of farmers through NEFT in 10 days interval. Sundarini is paying premium price to its farmers and minimum 75% of the consumer rupee is going back to them. Sundarini is now implementing VBMPS under NDP-I (NDDB), NPDD (GoI), Millennium Alliance (FICCI).

The Milk Union initiated extensive campaign for awareness and skill development of farmers on organic and sustainable livestock farming. It has also started the process for organic certification of all Sundarini products. 100% green fodder, Azolla based milk, egg production without using any chemical pesticide or manure is being promoted. Farmers are being advised to use ethno-veterinary medicine and set up herbal garden. The Union stressed on procurement of 100% SS milk cans/milk pails for farmers and marketing of cow ghee, honey in glass bottles only.

During 2017-18, Sundarini has marketed 7 tonnes of honey and has a target of 15 tonnes next year. Organic mangrove forest honey of Sundarban is collected in cooperative mode.

Dairying in West Bengal

In terms of value of output, milk is the single largest agricultural commodity in India. NDDB has been undertaking several initiatives for transforming dairying into an instrument for the development of India's rural people. Today more than 1.66 crore milk producers affiliated to about 1.86 lakh cooperative societies/producer institutions are being benefited from the dairy cooperative movement in the country. West Bengal has always been active participant to the schemes being implemented by NDDB.

Presently, 14 functional milk unions collectively procure about 188 thousand Kg of milk per day from 258000 milk producers covering over 4000 dairy cooperative societies. State’s milk production grew at about 2.7 % compared to nation’s 4.9 % in last 10 years. As on March 2018, West Bengal’s cooperative infrastructure includes 164 BMCs, 12 chilling centres and 11 dairy plants.

Under NDDB’s National Dairy Plan I (NDP I), 26 sub projects of 10 End Implementing Agencies (EIAs) are under implementation with the total grant assistance of Rs. 43.25 Crore. The EIAs are Bhagirathi Milk Union, Paschim Banga Go-Sampad Bikash Sanstha, Icchamati Milk Union, Kishan Milk Union, Kangsaboti Milk Union, Howrah Milk Union, Midnapore Milk Union, Sundarban Milk Union, Kullick Milk Union and Manbhum Milk Union.

The activities being implemented under NDP I in West Bengal include - Strengthening of Haringhata and Salboni Semen Stations to produce 4.81 million high quality disease free semen doses; Bull Production through imported Embryos, Ration Balancing sub projects which would cover 500 villages through Local Resource Persons (LRPs) to provide balanced ration to 35000 milch animals using locally available feed resources at least cost; under the Fodder Development sub projects, silage making units will be constructed, mowers would be procured for demonstration and bio mass storage silos would be constructed; Village Based Milk procurement System (VBMPS) sub projects would provide fair & transparent milk procurement system to milk producers in 2738 villages, out of which 1256 would be new villages and 53888 milk producers would be enrolled as members.