By Peter Alex Todd
Diphu (Assam), April 6 : The administration of Karbi Anglong, an Autonomous Hill District in Assam has initiated a milk union project and thus linked the producer, distributor and consumer with each other.
The milk project, christened as Karbi Anglong Milk Union Limited (KAMUL), has drawn a lot of people after officials educated the tribals about the significance of providing milk to children, especially the fresh and pure milk.
"It was the initiative of the District Administration that they are able to give loans to 30 beneficiaries through the State Bank of India. Farmers, who took loan, supply their milk to this project and get the benefit from here," said Dr. M. Rahman, the Director of the KAMUL.
"They (the farmers) will be given benefits from the Department and till date we have given them the benefits by buying them cans and training them which includes how to rear cattle and what preventive measures they have to take and all the specific instructions through experts like veterinary doctors," he informed.
Besides encouraging farmers to take up dairy farming, KAMUL has already started commissioned its dairy processing plant with capacity of 200 litres, which within a short span of two months, has touched 600 litres mark. They hope to touch a production of 2,000 litres by year-end.
Commenced in January, the milk union project is similar to the famous Anand-based Gujarat State Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, better known as Amul.
The milk is first collected from the farmers of the region and tested for purity. It is only after that it is sent to the dairy processing plant.
"Earlier, there were a lot of doubts about the quality of the milk we were getting. We used to doubt whether it is cow milk or powder milk. We used to face problem while feeding the children. As of now, we do not have to care when we feed children. It also tastes well. They have their own veterinary doctors as well who test the milk and we do not get any complaint in the milk," said Naru Chandra, a regular consumer of KAMUL.
The milk has maximum and the minimum fat contents in the range between 3.5 percent and 2.8 percent. And, the farmers are paid according to the purity of the milk.
The milk collectors also carry a small bottle and on each bottle the name of the farmer is written. These bottles with milk are then sent for purity tests.
Though this initiative has been to provide pure milk to the local tribals, often the workers at the processing plant had to face threats of certain militant outfits who demanded money from them.
The initiative intends to provide support farmers and values the growth of children.
"We have formed a milk union, the Karbi Anglong Milk Union Limited (KAMUL) to integrate all milk growers and to give them financial and credit support through the formation of joint liability group with the help of banks like SBI." said M. Angamuthu, Commissioner of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Hills District.
"We will procure the milk and provide them with all the technical and credit linkage aspects and in turn we do the pasteurization and sell it in the market and the money is directly collected in the milk cooperatives," he added.
Kamul is dedicated to the upliftment of the farmers by providing loans and giving free training and medicines for the cattle to boost the productivity.