Feast of Memories -3

Dr. Madhavan shares his reminiscences in a series of articles. He has named these memoirs as “Feast of Memories”. In this edition he talks about the
basic ground work done for formation of Anand Pattern Milk Producers Society in Erode.

In order to ascertain the actual Fat and SNF contents in milk, I collected milk samples from 100 buffaloes belonging to different owners/villages, at different stages of lactation. The samples were collected from buffaloes milked in my presence. I got the samples tested at the TNDDC Dairy at Erode. Fat and SNF contents in the samples ranged from 6%-11% and 8.5%-10%, respectively. The average Fat and SNF in the 100 samples tested were 8% and 9%, respectively. These figures were comparable with the Fat and SNF contents in Gujarat buffaloes!

After my Erode visit, I sought a meeting with MD, TNDDC to brief him on my observations. The meeting took place at the TNDDC office in Madras. Senior officers of TNDDC were present at the meeting. Mr Menezes opened the meeting and asked for my observations on my Erode visit. 

I elaborated my findings on visits to Milk Supply societies (Erode and Bhavani), creameries, some dairies, several villages and discussion with farmers. 

My observations were the following:• Erode milkshed had only buffaloes (as milch animal) and milk traded was entirely buffalo milk• TNDDC’s milk pricing chart was not suitable for buffalo milk. It was relevant only for cow milk. Applying this price chart in buffalo belt encouraged adulteration resulting in low fat and snf contents. Milk collected by cooperatives as well as the market milk had 3% fat and less than 7.5 SNF.• As individual fat testing was not carried out, adulteration was rampant at all levels: farmers, vendors and cooperatives• Measures used for measuring milk at buying and selling ends were defective: not stamped and tampered. Creameries used a small aluminium mug for measuring cream• Milk payments by all agencies were irregular• Milk collection timings were inconvenient. As a result, buffaloes had to be milked at odd timings, both morning and evening• Non-acceptance of milk: lean and flush• Quota system for milk collection• Lack of AI and animal health care facilities• Un-remunerative milk price• 100 milk samples collected from buffaloes milked in person, when tested, contained average 8% Fat and 9 % SNF (Range: 6-11% Fat & 8.8-10% SNF)• Estimated marketable surplus milk in Erode milk shed was around one lakh litres• TNDDC had tried to collect milk in Erode milk shed but gave up because of stiff competition from private trade• Prices declared by TNDDC didn’t  reach the farmers as a result of  non-testing of milk and exploitation at various levels: vendors, milk contractors, chilling centres/dairies, cooperatives • Lack of farmers’ participation in the cooperatives

Recommendations: Erode Milkshed was ideal for trying Anand Pattern. Since the milk shed had entirely buffalo milk, it was recommended to follow the Kg Fat milk pricing system, as was practised at Anand. Individual fat testing should be introduced and payments to the farmers should be on the basis of fat percentages. Farmers will not object to drawing 50 ml milk for testing as they gained as a result of testing. In any case, the farmers were losing about 100 ml on every litre of milk supplied on account of defective measures. Introduction of Kg Fat system, individual fat testing, correct measurement, removal of “quota system” and accepting all milk offered, regular milk payments, door to door extension work, AI and animal health care facilities and above all, participation of farmers in the cooperatives, will build up farmers’ confidence which will increase milk collection thereby increasing the viability of the cooperatives. 

Mr Menezes welcomed the recommendations and decided to go ahead with the “TRIAL” of Anand Pattern in Erode Milkshed.

Spearhead Team a novel innovation for organising milk producers cooperative societies

Spearhead Team consisted of personnel of various disciplines: Veterinary, Agriculture, Dairy Technology, Commerce, etc. The Team Leader was a person with several years of experience of having worked in the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union, Anand (AMUL). Other members of the Team were fresh graduates with extensive training for over one year in the organisation of milk cooperatives, imparted at Anand Cooperative. Since the Team was new to Erode, three persons (one Cooperative Sub-Registrar and two Cooperative Inspectors) from the local Deputy Registrar (Dairying) office were deputed to work with the Team. They helped the Team to move in the villages initially and in liaisoning between the Team and the Deputy Registrar’s office for registration of the milk cooperatives. The entire Team, except the two persons from the Deputy Registrar’s office, were NDDB personnel and their salary was met by NDDB.

Unemployed graduates from the local area volunteered to give free service for one year and thereafter, they were appointed as Supervisors on a consolidated salary of Rs 300.00. Two Office Assistants, two Drivers and a Helper were also engaged. 

For movement of the Team, NDDB had provided two jeeps, the propulsion charges of which were met by NDDB. Equipment and various registers required by the milk cooperatives were provided by NDDB. A “revolving fund” for making regular milk payments to the farmers was also provided by NDDB. 

Spearhead Team set up a small office at Erode and commenced its operations.

Continued Feast of Memories -4

Contributed by Dr. E. Madhavan, Former Regional Director NDDB , Mumbai


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