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Assam’s two dairy projects to help milk entrepreneurs & co-ops

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Guwahati: When the country is basking in the glory of becoming the largest milk producer in the world contributing 23% of global milk production, Business-Northeast made a quick insight into the dairy sector of Assam.

The Directorate of Dairy Development, Assam, has initiated two projects for milk entrepreneurs and dairy co-operative societies.

The projects — Commercial Dairy Farming and Cottage Dairy Unit — aim to improve the condition of milk farmers and co-operatives, respectively.

Business-Northeast spoke to the newly appointed director Karuna Sharma, who informed that the new initiatives are to increase milk production as well as improve the living condition of milk farmers.

According to Assistant Rural Dairy Extension Officer Nawabi Deka, the Commercial Dairy Farming project has started on the basis of administrative approval of the Assam government in 2021-2022. It aims to assist milk entrepreneurs in channelising production in a commercial way.

In this project, 20 entrepreneurs will benefit every year. The project is now in the application phase. Selected farmers will be provided financial help, capacity-building training, etc. A project proposal will be made on the basis of which activities will be conducted. They will be told to buy High Genetic Milch cows. There will be provision for the construction of cowsheds for entrepreneurs.

The attempt will be done for value addition to the process of milk production by entrepreneurs.

There is plan for linkage with multiple banks for loan facility as well. For repaying the loans, the subsidy provided by the banks will be 40 percent and that provided by State Government will be 30 percent.

The entrepreneurs must have experience of at least three years.

The entrepreneurs will train by their respective district offices of Dairy Development Board.

Like a new project called Cottage Dairy Unit is also under operation since 2022. The main purpose of the project is to improve the condition of dairy co-operatives of Assam. At most 36 co-operatives will be selected from across Assam.

These co-operatives will get scientific training for making dairy products like paneer, curd, etc. as well as utensils. Yet, no financial support will be provided for the same.

The State Chief Minster Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma had asked the department to make sure that as a result of reform in the dairy sector, milk farmers get the highest dividend.

A number of schemes for dairy development are also implemented in Assam. Some leading schemes are like are Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF), National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD), Supporting Dairy Co-operatives and Farmer Producer Organisation (SDCFPO) and Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund.

Under the DIDF scheme, NDDB can also directly provide funds to the End Borrowers from its own resources, apart from funding from NABARD.

According to the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying data, milk production in Assam was at 954.070 tonnes in 2021. This records an increase from the previous number of 919.940 tonnes in 2020.

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