The West Assam Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union Limited (WAMUL), popularly known as Purabi Dairy, organised a mega Calf Show at Nityananda Playground in Pathsala, Assam on January 7, 2023, to highlight the effectiveness and benefits of artificial insemination.
Shri Atul Bora, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Veterinary & Dairying, Govt of Assam inaugurated the Calf Show as Chief Guest in presence of Shri Ranjeet Kumar Dass, Minister of Panchayat & Rural Development, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs and Smt. Nandita Gorlosa, Minister of Cooperation, Power as guests of honour. Shri Meenesh C Shah, Chairman, NDDB graced the occasion as a special guest. The day-long event was attended by hundreds of farmers from the district and neighbouring areas.
The exhibition showcased 100 female calves which were produced through Artificial Insemination (AI) in Assam through the “Doorstep AI delivery service” under the World Bank financed “APART” project being implemented by WAMUL under the formal Milk value chain and the technical support being provided by NDDB Dairy Services. High Genetic merit calves of Indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal and Red Sindhi, and cross-breeds between indigenous breeds and Holstein Friesian (HF) / Jersey (JY) participated in the Calf show. A few calves of exotic breeds like HF and JY were also displayed. F1 mothers of Sahiwal, Jersey and Red Sindhi were also displayed in the show.
To provide the doorstep service, Mobile AI Technicians (MAIT) are trained at NDDB’s training institutes in Siliguri and Jalandhar. Under the project, awareness is created among the farmers for detection of the heat cycle of the animal and after they inform the MAITs, the experienced team arrives at the farmer’s premises and conduct the artificial insemination.
Shri Meenesh Shah, Chairman, NDDB emphasized that dairying is one of the most important and effective sources of livelihood in the agriculture and allied sector. However, productivity is a critical factor for adopting dairying by farmers. The other vital factor is assuring the year a steady and remunerative market for the producers. He lauded the Government of Assam for encouraging dairying and thanked the state government for giving the responsibility for turning around the Cooperative Dairying in Assam to NDDB. Shri Shah elaborated on the multifaceted benefits of dairying which is no more limited to milk and milk products and extends to gobar gas for fuel and slurry for organic manure. On the aspect of productivity, Chairman NDDB also highlighted the role of feed and fodder which needs to be developed on a larger scale.
“We have observed that the districts covered under milk procurement by WAMUL are having the best AI adoption, as there is a ready market for their milk around the year. Barpeta, Nagaon, Morigaon, Kamrup, Nalbari and now Goalpara and Bongaigaon are among the top-performing districts. In Upper Assam also, we are confident that commencement of milk procurement will immediately boost up the AI performance,” he added.
Welcoming the farmers and dignitaries to the Calf Show Shri Satya Brata Bose, Managing Director WAMUL highlighted the role of productivity enhancement for the animal holding in Assam. Artificial Insemination (AI) has been found to be the most effective tool to achieve this. Only higher productivity can reduce the cost of production and make dairying a major means of livelihood for the farmers of Assam. However, the gestation process is long and needs patience to show a positive outcome. Today’s Calf Show would help the farmers to see the benefits of AI and would encourage them to adopt good productivity practices. Shri Bose informed that through the APART project, WAMUL has been able to conduct 7.75 lakhs AIs, which has given birth to 1.50 lakh female calves of Higher Genetic Merit (HGM). Some of the next-generation mothers (F1 and F2) have shown a yield increase from 1.2 Litres per Day (LPD) to 5.0 LPD.
The government of Assam has been constantly supporting the development of dairying as a key to the economic empowerment of the farmer of Assam to adopt best practices and to take dairying in Assam to new heights. The role of AI in productivity enhancement and the introduction of sex-sorted semen in the AI service to further accelerate the process. The joint venture between GoA and NDDB and the launch of the fodder mission are expected to drive the cooperative dairying into a Golden Period in Assam Dairy Development.
Barpeta as a district is the highest milk-producing district in Assam and it is befitting that WAMUL has organised the calf show in Nityananda in Barpeta district. Cooperative dairying has helped the district’s economy immensely and has led the way for other districts of Assam to follow in a similar direction.
A cooperative form of business ensures that a major share of the consumer money gets transferred back to the producers. With support from the State Cooperation ministry and National Dairy Development Board, a vibrant cooperative culture is taking shape in Assam.