Assam’s largest dairy cooperative, Purabi Dairy, celebrated Annual Milk Day at a function in Guwahati on October 6. The milk day, organised by West Assam Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union Limited (WAMUL), popularly known as Purabi Dairy, was aimed at providing a platform for exchange of ideas and sharing experiences between the milk producers.
Assam Minister for Agriculture, AHVD and Cooperation, Shri Atul Bora, presided over the function at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati as the chief guest with Shri Maninder Singh IAS, Additional Chief Secretary to the Govt of Assam, Dept of Cooperation, as the guest of Honour. Many other senior government officials, concerned agencies and dairy farmers graced the event.
The Annual Milk Day function organized by Purabi Dairy has become a platform for the people associated with dairy farming to share their experiences and problems. This year the celebrations were organised in a smaller scale in view of the Covid 19 restrictions.
During the financial year 2020-21, West Assam Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union Ltd. (popularly known as Purabi Dairy) reported an average milk procurement of around 29,000 kg per day at 4.42% Fat and 8.35% SNF with a peak procurement of around 46,000 kg per day from 359 functional dairy cooperative societies covering around 14,000 dairy farmers.
During the event Satya Brata Bose, Managing Director at WAMUL pointed out that during the subsequent period of Covid-19 induced restrictions the procurement went up to cross 70000 kg per day. “During the lockdowns and market restrictions arising due to COVID-19, WAMUL played a significant role in maintaining an uninterrupted supply of value-added milk and milk products in the market without imposing a single day of milk holiday for its dairy farmers despite the market side constraints. Such spirit of this cooperative institution has immensely helped it to maintain its financial stability even during tough and turbulent times the world has witnessed since past 18 months due to the global pandemic.”, he said.
This year WAMUL has paid an average milk procurement price of Rs36 per kg of milk at 4.42% Fat and 8.35% SNF to its dairy farmers besides paying an additional milk procurement price of around Rs1.40 per kg of milk to eligible dairy farmers. During the financial year base price was revised upwards by Rs 2 per kg. Since last seven years, the milk union is transferring all its milk bill payments directly into the bank accounts of its individual dairy farmers through cashless transactions.
During the year, WAMUL carried out extensive activities under Assam Project for Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (APART Project). Under the project, it provided input and extension services to its dairy farmers related to genetic improvement of animals through Artificial Insemination (AI) services, intake of balanced feed and fodder for sustaining milk yield, Pashu Ayurveda for treating selected animal diseases, training and capacity building of dairy farmers and field functionaries. Besides, under the APART Project, the milk union installed and commissioned bulk milk coolers (BMC) at strategic locations for covering newer areas like Dhing, Kaliabor, Goalpara thus adding more numbers of dairy farmers through primary cooperative societies into its system. The distributed chilling infrastructure (BMC Network) also helps to maintain quality of its raw milk procured from village based primary milk cooperative societies.
During this period, WAMUL undertook an agreement with NDDB and ARIAS Society, Govt. of Assam under the World Bank financed project – Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART) – to expand the capacity of its existing liquid milk processing plant at Guwahati and also to create facilities for manufacturing new value-added products such as ice creams and indigenous sweets. APART is also helping WAMUL to adopt new alternate/renewable source of energy such as solar energy to power its automated milk collection systems installed at primary milk cooperative societies to make the process of milk collection and price payment more transparent. APART also financed installations of solar-based rapid milk chillers at two BMC centers on a pilot basis that remarkably reduced the dependency on diesel generators thereby cutting down the operating costs of those BMCs.
During the year, WAMUL inaugurated a 12-tonne per day capacity mineral mixture plant and a 25-tonne per day capacity bypass protein meal plant at its Cattle Feed premises in Changsari in Kamrup district. The feed facilities have been instrumental in continuously supplying feed supplements to the dairy farmers that have remarkably improved the reproductive health of dairy animals besides improving their milk yield and quality. This has helped the dairy farmers of WAMUL to have better realisations of prices paid to them as per the milk quality-based pricing methods. These feed facilities were set up by WAMUL through financial assistance of Govt. of Assam under RIDF-XXIII. The main feed plant under the project is also expected to be commissioned by this year.
Over the years WAMUL has grown from strength to strength in ensuring a round a year remunerative market to its associated dairy farmers besides providing quality-based value-added products to its esteemed consumers. Due to all these factors, by the end of FY 2020-21, the union could sell around 73,000 litres of packed liquid milk and milk equivalent of products every day under its registered brand name ‘Purabi’. The milk union is selling all of its packed liquid milk variants fortified with Vitamins A & D in line with the policy of Govt of India and FSSAI to combat micronutrient deficiencies.
During FY 2020-21, the milk union attained a sales turnover of Rs120 crores which is around 15% higher than the one achieved during the previous financial year. This has helped WAMUL to plough back a significant amount generated out of its business operations during the year in the form of an additional milk procurement price payment to its eligible dairy farmers. On October 6, Purabi Dairy declared an additional milk price amount of around Rs 1.42 crore to over 8,000 eligible dairy farmers who poured milk to it during the financial year 2020-21.
The milk union has always made it a point to empower its women dairy farmers by felicitating them in every Milk Day celebrations. This time also it has awarded its best women dairy farmers with a prize money of Rs 10,000, Rs 7,000 and Rs 5,000 for first, second and third respectively. Besides women dairy farmers, WAMUL has also felicitated two of its best performing Mobile AI Technicians (MAIT) for their tireless services rendered at the doorsteps of the dairy farmers.
The milk day event ended with a vote of thanks from the Managing Director WAMUL, Satya Brata Bose.