Chandigarh: Punjab has managed to give a new lease of life to dairying as an allied agriculture activity by being the first state in the country to go in for commercial dairy farms. This has helped in economic upliftment of dairy farmers as well as increasing milk production.
Commercial dairy farms have been established in Punjab with the help of the state government. These farms have been established after the government enrolled four banks to provide loans at reasonable rates of interest to farmers. The success of these farms also lies in the fact that these have only cows and no buffaloes. This has helped in increasing the milk production by almost three times. As a result, milk procurement by Milkfed has reached a record high of 11 lakh litres a day and extreme seasonal variation in milk procurement due to preponderance of buffalo farming has been reduced.
This project has also helped Milkfed get out of the red and double its turnover in three years. For five years (from 2001-02 to 2005-06) the sales turnover had remained stagnant at around Rs 600 crore. With commercial dairy farms increasing milk production, the sales turnover of the cooperative is expected to cross Rs 1,200 crore this year.
Now buoyed by the success of commercial dairy farms in Punjab, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Producers Union, Anand, and the government of India are all set to emulate the model. A team of Amul India and the government of India recently visited the state to see how the commercial dairy farms were functioning.
Officials in the Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation (Milkfed) informed TNS that in the past two years they had managed to establish 750 commercial dairy farms across the state. V.K. Singh, managing director, Milkfed, said the minimum size of each farm was 20 cows and most of the farms now had 60-70 cows. “These farms have machine milking, a good preventive health care regimen and silage for storing green fodder. A large dairy farm allows the farmer economies of scale and most of these farmers are now earning around Rs 1 lakh a month,” he said.
Singh also said to promote commercial dairy farms, they were offering the highest procurement price for milk in the country at Rs 14.50 per litre. “We are also giving a bulk premium of Re 1 per litre to our bulk suppliers, so that they remain associated with us,” he added.