Tata Dairy Mission
Livestock-based interventions are a key source of livelihood for small and marginal farmers in India, contributing to around 16-20% of their annual household income. The returns are significant, with regular and assured cashflow, unlike agriculture with its associated risks.
The Tata Trusts established the Tata Dairy Mission in partnership with Dairy Health and Nutrition Initiative India Foundation (DHANII) which has been set up as a Section-8 company. This project aims to enhance the incomes of milk producers in a sustainable manner, by building their capacity vis-à-vis milk production, animal health, breed improvement and animal nutrition.
DHANII works to improve the livelihoods of milk producers by linking them to the market through milk producer companies (MPCs), which are equipped with the latest technology, infrastructure and assured market linkages. This will help ensure fair price for milk and milk products. With technical support from NDDB Dairy Services (NDS), DHANII has supported the establishment of five MPCs – Sakhi Mahila MPC (Alwar, Rajasthan); Asha Mahila MPC (Pali, Rajasthan); Shwetdhara Mahila MPC (Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh); Ruhaanii MPC (Mansa, Punjab); and Induja Mahila MPC (Yavatmal, Maharashtra).
Milk brought in by the farmers is collected at a ‘milk pooling point’ in each village. Dairy-appointed helpers use tamper-proof equipment at each pooling point to test the fat and SNF content of the milk brought in by each farmer-producer. The payment is based on the quality of milk. The transparency of the system ensures that the farmer-producers get a fair price for their milk thrice a month, on a 10-day payment cycle.
The payments are digitised and milk producers can choose to receive payments directly into their bank accounts. Doorstep banking in remote areas is also available through bank correspondents, who enable cash withdrawals from bank accounts. The dairy intervention has helped generate and assured average monthly income of Rs6,000 per beneficiary.
Similarly, the Trusts’ dairy intervention in Tripura has generated alternate livelihood options for the farmers. The project has given a ray of hope to the beneficiaries by facilitating an alternate source of income. Presently, 854 women from 27 villages of Durgachomuhani and Salema blocks are enrolled as members of TRIDHA Milk Producer Company. A dairy plant with a capacity of 5,000 litres per day has been set up for strengthening the procurement and marketing of milk and other dairy products.
The Tata Dairy Mission initiative has transformed the economy of over 670 villages, across the Trusts’ area of operations. More than 32,000 dairy farmers are members of these MPCs as of March 2019.