Dairy sector poised for a boost in state

‘Cattle induction under central mission to improve milk output’

From Saurav Bora

GUWAHATI: The dairy sector in Meghalaya is poised for a much-needed boost.
From the enhancement of plant capacity in the Mawiong dairy to revival of the plants in Tura and Jowai under a central dairy development programme, milk production from the three plants alone is expected to cross the 50,000 litres a day mark in a year’s time, official sources claim.
Currently, the three operational plants produce less than 15,000 litres of processed milk per day.
“The capacity of the plant at Mawiong will be enhanced from about 13,000 litres to 50,000 litres per day by the end of this year if the funds under the National Programme for Dairy Development are sanctioned on time. Already, expansion work is under way since the first installment of nearly Rs 4 crore was released while the other two installments are expected during the year,” an official source told The Shillong Times on Saturday.
The organised and unorganised sectors in the state produce between 85,000 litres and 1,00,000 litres milk per day, of which about 70,000 litres are supplied to local consumers while another 30,000 litres are supplied outside the state from places like Byrnihat and Jorabat.
The milk demand in general has increased in the state.
“The production from government plants is below five per cent though. Production in the Tura and Jowai plants have gone down to below 1,000 litres, respectively, against a capacity of 2,000 litres each because dairy farmers get better prices in the market and hence sell their milk directly to the consumers. So, the demand for milk is very high in Tura,” the official said.
“However, under the dairy mission, cattle from states such as Tamil Nadu and Haryana are being inducted in Tura particularly and the plant is being revived albeit there is no expansion plan now,” he said.
At least two chilling plants, one at Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills and the other at Resubelpara in Garo Hills, have been non-operational for over three decades now.
“There was another chilling plant in Umsning, but that too has been lying defunct since a long time now. That plant used to cater to a good number of customers in Ri Bhoi and even Assam every day,” he said.
The official said a plant in Byrnihat would have been ideal to cater to consumers from neighbouring Assam.
Currently, almost all the dairy farmers in Meghalaya, he said, belong to indigenous communities.
The number of cooperative societies in Tura and Jowai, however, has come down to below 10, respectively. “The support from the government, farmers allege, has been found wanting till date unlike in cooperatives such as WAMUL (Purabi Dairy) in Assam, which is why such societies are on the wane. But they would be revived soon with the formation of district unions,” he added.

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