From Bhupen Goswami
GUWAHATI : On the occasion of World Milk Day on June 1, Guwahati-based West Assam Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union Ltd (WAMUL), popularly known as Purabi Dairy, focused on ‘sustainability in the dairy sector’ while taking into account the environmental, nutritional and socio-economic aspects of dairying. The theme for this year’s World Milk Day, set by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, was 'sustainability in the dairy sector’. It aims to re-introduce dairy farming to the world, by helping to create a low- carbon future for dairy. To mark the occasion, WAMUL shared various initiatives taken by the cooperative for the dairy farmers of Assam. WAMUL, through various field-based interventions, has always emphasized on making use of sustainable sources of energy to ensure maximum benefits to the dairy cooperatives and the farmers associated with it. “From installing solar powered Automatic Milk Collection System (AMCS) at Dairy Cooperative Societies (DCS) to introducing Flexi Biogas systems to dairy farmers on a pilot basis, WAMUL has ensured minimizing cost & maximizing benefits to all the stakeholder associated with dairying,” a statement from the cooperative said.
Such interventions have also been introduced under the World Bank- funded Assam Project for Agribusiness & Rural Transformation (APART) of Govt. of Assam, wherein more than 220 number of solar powered AMCSs, two solar powered Instant Milk Chilling Systems were provided to the DCSs and Bulk Milk Cooling Centre, the corporation announced on the occasion. “By tapping into the solar energy, the aim is to reduce the carbon footprint, along with reducing the operational cost, improving the milk quality and having a transparent milk collection environment. In view of the success and efficiency of the aforementioned systems, in time to come, WAMUL plans to roll out the Flexi Biogas model (along with Consolidated Manure Management) and solar powered BMC/ Milk Chilling Centre across Assam on a substantial scale,” it added. Shri Bharat Kalita, a member of the management committee of WAMUL, emphasized that apart from providing a consistent market to their produce, a dedicated group of 28 numbers of Veterinary Executives and 450+ Mobile Artificial Insemination Technicians (MAITs) are helping in increasing milk productivity & thus reducing cost through Ration Balancing Programme (an initiative of National Dairy Development Board – NDDB), which focusses on balanced ration for the cattle. Such initiatives incidentally also reduce methane emission significantly.
WAMUL feels that such new generation initiatives and practices are encouraging new entrepreneurs to enter the Dairy business and strengthen the Dairy Cooperative moment in Assam. Moreover, the ever- increasing requirement of nutrition of our citizens, especially the city dwellers, gives a unique opportunity of livelihood to the farmers through dairying – milk and milk-based products being an ideal avenue to provide nutrition. WAMUL became the 1 st Cooperative Milk Union in India to introduce the FSSAI's programme for Fortification with support from NDDB and Tata Trusts (TINI) – on this very day in 2018. This initiative of Food Fortification will go a long way in addressing the micro-nutrient deficiency in the entire population. Purabi Dairy being the market leader for fresh milk in Assam, has ensured availability of essential milk and milk products to the consumers and thereby maintained continuity in the milk procurement from the farmers and ensured supply of daily milk-based nutrition to the consumers even during the COVID restrictions – thanks to the support from the state government. On the occasion of the World Milk Day, 14,000+ dairy farmers of WAMUL express their deep gratitude to the consumers for their patronage and all stakeholders for their support.