Women take lead in dairy development

Kohima, December 3 (PTI): Though still in its infancy, the dairy industry in Nagaland has made its presence felt by supplying milk not only to consumers in the state, but also to those in the districts of Assam. Animal husbandry department officials said that apart from the local population, security forces stationed in different parts of Nagaland are the regular consumers.

This constitutes an achievement of sort, the officials explain, considering that till a decade ago milk production and marketing were monopolised by Nepali Khutiwalas (persons involved in rearing cattle). With the setting up of milk chilling plants and pasteurization plants in places like Diampur, Kohima, Mokokchung, Pfutsero and Wokha, Naga farmers have now taken up milk production as a serious business and women are taking the lead in rearing cows in urban and semi-urban places.

Traditionally the Nagas were never inclined to rearing cattle for production of milk. Now toned milk and other milk products in poly packs and cups under brand names KOMUL and DIMUL are sold not only in Nagaland, but also in neighbouring districts of Assam. The department is now fucusing on bringing about a ‘white revolution’ during the 11th plan by consolidating on-going programmes like Integrated Dairy Development programme, Clean Milk production and assistance to co-operative societies. When most public sector undertakings and cooperative ventures in the state usually die before they start functioning properly, two district-level milk producers’ unions of Kohima and Diampur have emerged as successful co-operative movements with growing number of individual Naga women or group venturing into dairy business. Nearly 60 per cent of milk supplied to pasteurization plants at Kohima and Dimapur is produced by woman farmers despite the fact that many individuals and groups regularly sell milk through Nepali vendors.

The Central Dairy Plant at 7th Mile, owned by Dimapur District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited (DIMUL), receives over 3,000 litres daily from farmers for processing, packaging and marketing. DIMUL, which has now 45 dairy co-operative societies with 1,800 members producing 10.33 lakh litres of milk, registered a net profit of over 2.43 lakh during 2007-08. DIMUL marketed 13.13 lakh litres of toned milk besides selling cupped lassi, dahi, ice cream, ghee and cattle feed during the year 2007-08. The Kikhruru Dairy Co-operative Society of Chumukedima near Dimapur was adjudged the best society for supplying over 1.23 lakh litres of milk during the year. The project director of Nagaland State Dairy Cooperative Federation Ltd, Dr A Yhokha, advised the Union to set production targets and achieve them by 2010. Managing Director of Nagaland State Cooperative Bank Ltd B K Thandani described DIMUL as ‘a role model’ in the state and urged the growers to accelerate its activities by inculcating a progressive mindset.