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Modern dairy practices helped women join dairying to bolster AP’s milk production

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Adoption of modern dairy practices, along with increased participation of women in dairying, will significantly enhance Andhra Pradesh’s milk production, according to Varsha Joshi, Additional Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), Government of India. She made these remarks at Tirupati on Wednesday while addressing the 10th anniversary celebrations of Shreeja Mahila Milk Producer Organisation- world’s largest women-owned milk producer organisation with a member base of over 1.20 lakh.

The organisation procures eight lakh litres of milk per day. Joshi said that AP has made noteworthy progress in milk production in recent years, with organisations like Shreeja playing a major role. The State currently ranks 5th in the country in terms of milk production and should aim to become one of the top three producers. ‘As we gather here to celebrate Shreeja’s 10th anniversary, there is no doubt about the milestone achieved, no matter how challenging it may have been. According to data from the Department of Animal Husbandry, milk production in Andhra Pradesh has increased by 60 per cent from 96.56 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 to 1.54 crore tonnes in 2022-23,” she stated.

Addressing a large gathering of women-dairy farmers, Dr Meenesh Shah, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board and NDDB Dairy Services complimented the farmers on completing ten years and achieving numerous milestones along the way. Dr Shah said that Shreeja started operations in the milk-shed area of the erstwhile Chittoor District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd and has since expanded to twelve districts, including neighbouring States. It is worth noting that during the mid-1990s the Chittoor District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd was procuring around 3 lakh litres of milk. However, it eventually reached a point where losses mounted, milk procurement dropped to 65,000 litres per day and milk payments to farmer members became unsustainable.

The Board of Chittoor Cooperative Milk Union and its general body passed a resolution to handover Balaji Dairy Tirupati (then a Unit of Chittoor Milk Union) to NDDB with a mandate to make operations viable and serve milk producers. After the Chittoor Milk Union went into liquidation in September 2002, the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh transferred the assets of Balaji Dairy Plant to NDDB for a principal due of Rs16.81 crore plus other interest dues. NDDB, as a developmental financial institution, has set up subsidiary companies to handle commercial operations. Since Balaji Dairy was a commercial venture, the plant was subsequently handed over to Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Private Limited in 2008. Currently, Mother Dairy operates the plant by procuring milk from the Shreeja Milk Producer Organisation, which was established in July 2014 as a fully women-owned and operated milk producer organisation. The formation of Shreeja Milk Producer Organisation was facilitated by NDDB through its subsidiary NDDB Dairy Services.

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