Srinagar, Oct.10 : Annual milk production in Kashmir Valley has touched a record mark of 8.78 lakhs of metric tonnes, an increase of 28,000 metric tonnes over the previous year, courtesy the formation of new milk co-operative societies and commissioning of modern processing units.
Milk production in Jammu and Kashmir valley increased tremendously in the past couple of years. It has shot up by 300 per cent over the last six years.
"The production of milk has increased to 8.78 lakh metric tonnes annually in Kashmir. It was 8.50 lakh metric tonnes earlier. This year the per capita availability of milk in Kashmir is 356 grams per day where as the Indian Council of Medical Research has made it mandatory that 290 grams per day must be available to an individual," said Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo, the Deputy Director (Central) of Animal Husbandry department of Jammu and Kashmir.
"The Department of Animal Husbandry is trying to expand the number of dairies through integrated dairy development programme to set up societies so that we can canalise overall milk produce," Kaloo added.
A new concept of milk societies that has come up in Jammu and Kashmir has played a very crucial role to increase the production of milk. These milk societies formed by local villagers have started mushrooming all over the State.
Milk from all these societies is collected and transported to the processing units. Later, at these processing units, the milk is pasteurised and packed before being despatched to the markets for sale.
With each passing year, the number of milk co-operative societies is on the rise, and this year, it stood at 190 against 150 in the previous year.
"Last year, we had 150 societies. Milk is coming from all the districts in Kashmir. This year we have 190 societies. Last year, our procurement was 8,000 litres and this year it is more than 12,000 litres, almost over 4,000 litres increase in production," said Khurshid Ahmed, a dairy owner and milk supplier to a processing unit.
The network of new societies, collection points and processing units has opened new job prospects for the youth in the State. So much so, many youths have ventured to take up dairying as a lucrative profession.
With the help of the Animal Husbandry Department of Jammu and Kashmir, these enterprising youngsters have been familiar with the latest developments in dairy farming and enhanced milk production.
Introduction of a new and hybrid livestock has also contributed to this high production of milk in the valley. Besides, the young dairy farmers are also let known the novel marketing strategies.
The quality product from various new milk processing units under the brand name Sheshmashahi and Snow Cap have made a mark.
Apart from the locals, these two brands are very popular among the tourists visiting the valley region.
Snow Cap has increased its production to 12,000 units per day as compared to 5,000 units of last year.
"This year the production is more and the villages have worked hard for the production. There are many milk production plants that have come up. So the shortage of milk which at one time worried the State has been eradicated," said Mohammed Akbar, a milk vendor.
The dairy farming sector in Jammu and Kashmir is optimistic of further growth as evident from the constant assistance provided by the Animal Husbandry Department to the dairy farmers. By Afzal Bhat