The entry of Amul has been a boon for small dairy farmers, who keep a few cattle. They are not only getting better returns but also getting timely payments. “Before Amul, farmers were at the mercy of private diaries which were paying them paltry sums, erratically,” said Chandra Mohan Singh, the procurement in-charge for Kanpur Dehat district.
“Milk production in these areas has been up in the last few years, thanks to Amul. Farmers have started looking at keeping cattle as a viable livelihood option,” said Ghanshyam Singh Badonia, a farmer in Dalelpur village, Kanpur district.
Uttar Pradesh is the key for the development of the country’s dairy sector having 17 percent share in India’s milk production. The State, which produces around 7.55 crore litres of milk a day, has just been a blip on India’s dairy map. State-owned Pradeshik Cooperative Dairy Federation, which sells milk and milk products under the Parag brand, has only a marginal presence.
Uttar Pradesh has largely remained the land of dhudiyas and the catchment for a few private dairy players. With hardly any quality control, adulteration was rampant. Things, however, took a turn for the better about three years ago when Banas Dairy — one of the biggest dairies in Asia in the cooperative sector — set up shop in the State.
Banas Dairy is the largest member union of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which sells milk under the Amul brand. It has two plants of 5 lakh capacity each in Kanpur and Lucknow catering to a sizeable number of small dairy farmers in many central UP districts.
“Since the time we have set up operations here, we have been able to give hundreds of small farmers a better livelihood option. More importantly, we have been able to bring down the practice of adulteration significantly,” said Amrish Dwivedi
who heads the operations at the Kanpur plant, located at Mati, 55 km from Kanpur city. “Earlier, dairy farmers here used to mix salt or sugar so that they get better SNF (solids-not-fat portion) value of milk, which fetched them better prices. If nothing else, they would add water to jack up the quantity,” he said.
According to Dwivedi, both the plants together collect 6.5 lakh litres of milk every day. “We have a total of nine milk chilling centres located in Kanpur and surrounding districts, including Kannauj, Divyapur, Etawah, Lucknow and Varanasi. There are about 1,300 cooperative milk societies whose membership ranged from a few tens to a couple of hundreds,” he said.
According to Dwivedi, Amul’s entry has helped consumers, too. “People started realizing what is quality milk. Even our competitors — private dairies — have no choice but to deliver quality milk. So, there has been a greater impact on society.”
But, there is a long way to go, he adds. “The demand for pouch milk is still low in UP, but is picking up.”