Grangan (Mohali), May 25 : Punjab has long been known as a leader in the Indian agriculture sector. It acquired fame in the 1960s and 1970s for the Green Revolution, and now farmers in the state are attempting to replicate the famous Anand experiment of Gujarat, heralding another White Revolution.
We are referring to Gujarat's Anand town, where Amul (Anand Milk Union Limited) , a dairy cooperative movement set up in 1946, produced milk and other dairy products under the umbrella of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF). Today, some 2.6 million milk producers jointly own the cooperative.
Fast forward to Punjab, where dairy farmers have been encouraged to increase their stock of milch cows and buffaloes to produce milk for commercial gain.
Not very long ago, Harchand Singh of Grangan Village in Punjab on the outskirts of Chandigarh had no substantial income. He collected 20 cows and started distributing milk around his neighbourhood. Within five years, he has become a the prosperous owner of 143 cows, 60 cows of which are of the jersey variety.
"The job of dairy is good, but one has to be hard working. Now, dairy farming has been replaced by conventional farming," said Harchand Singh.
The milk revolution seems to be sweeping across Punjab's rural landscape.
The government has started training programmes in artificial insemination (AI) and other areas of dairying so that young farmers can take advantage and turn entrepreneurs. The emphasis has been laid on the latest trends in dairy farming technology, cleanliness and quality products.
All the activities are integrated under the co-operative system, Milk Fed, a milk marketing co-operative federation. It includes activities right from setting up a dairy farm to rearing livestock of milch cattle, milk production, collection, preservation and marketing
"The dairy industry in India is booming. Previously small farmers with a couple of cows used to sell milk if they had extra. But now the banks provide loans. Even we encourage enterprising young men, and provide training so that they can run a farm by themselves, " said V.K.Singh, the Managing Director of Milk Fed.
A good cold storage chain management and safety standards are a priority for the white revolution in Punjab.
Milk collection centres have been set up for those farmers who want to supply milk to the cooperatives. They are provided by many facilities like, cooling, transportation and marketing.
The customers also appreciate the quality service and price at offer.
"The milk is clean and the rates are reasonable. Moreover, we don't have to go to far off places to get milk," said Joginder Singh, a consumer.
In addition to this, due to Milk Fed, the farmers are planning to export milk products to countries in the Middle East and West.
This drive is likely to get impetus due to the popularising trend among young milk farmers who are establishing bigger dairy farms. By Sunil Kumar Sharma.