1. Animal Husbandry

Is There Any Connection Between Subhash Chandra Bose and Dairy Farmers?

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

The iconic Bose war cry was tweaked by the Chhattisgarh district administration to rally the small and marginal dairy farmers. “Give us milk, and we’ll give you economic freedom,” it exhorted them, promising to help them break the shackles of poverty and live a life of dignity.

What’s the connection between Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the dairy farmers of Chhattisgarh’s Balod district? Well, it’s an iconic slogan, now given a spin to bring a mini white revolution.  “Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom.”

The dairy farmers to bring them together in Chhattisgarh and safeguard their interests. Collector Saransh Mittar chalked out a plan of action involving the economics and marketing of milk products. Thus the ‘Ganga Maiyya Dairy Production and Processing Cooperative Society’ came into existence.

Once exploited and underpaid, dairy farmers under the society are now competing locally with the milk cooperative Amul and other popular brands like Devbhog and Vachan and are supplying milk and milk products under the brand name of ‘Doodh Ganga’ across the district that has a population of about 9 lakh.

“Right from milk production and collection to processing and marketing, everything was worked out. We assisted in setting up a milk processing unit with ultra-modern equipment from the District Mineral Fund,” said Mittar. The farmers were trained to take proper care of the livestock, he added.

To procure milk from dairy farmers like him used to make profit while the suppliers and the consumers got a war deal. “The milk company paid the farmers Rs 20-26 per litre while the consumers paid Rs 40 and above. We were unorganised and therefore exploited. Now, it’s a happy story for all,” affirmed Anil Mantri, President of the society that has 300 dairy farmers as members.

The dairy farmers associated with the society sell their milk at Rs 30 per litre. Each gets a receipt from the society on the quantity of milk purchased along with the amount to be paid. The society, which maintains the processing plant with well-trained youths employed to handle it, earns Rs 8 per litre as profit.

“Forget a secure income, earlier we had to struggle for livelihood,” said Nand Kumar Shave, 29, who has done MA and postgraduate diploma in computer application. Being unemployed, he bought eight cows but that barely eased his problem since payment was meagre and was often delayed. “Earlier, there was no guarantee when the payment would be made. Now, the amount is transferred directly to my bank account within 10 days,” he said.

The quality as well is price of Doodh Ganga milk is better than other brands available, they say.“The added boon is the economics around the business of the society. The money consumers pay doesn’t go out but remains circulated within the region,” the collector averred.

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