Women Led Balinee Milk Producer Company Revolutionises Dairy Business in Bundelkhand

Balinee Milk Producer Company Limited, set up in 2019 and with 40,000 members, has been transforming the lives of rural women in over 800 villages of six districts in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh.

Jyotsna RichhariyaJyotsna Richhariya   13 May 2022 6:15 AM GMT

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Women Led Balinee Milk Producer Company Revolutionises Dairy Business in Bundelkhand

 Women deposit milk at a collection centre in village in Jhansi. All photos: By arrangement

Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is known for dryland, recurring droughts, poverty and migration. For the past three years, Balinee Milk Producer Company Limited has been transforming the lives of rural women in over 800 villages of six districts in Uttar Pradesh's Bundelkhand area spread across Banda, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Jhansi and Lalitpur.

Rani Rajput, a 32-year-old resident of Rund Karari village in Jhansi is a member of the Balinee Milk Producer Company for the last two years who has benefited immensely from the dairy business.

"I do not own any land for farming, Balinee aids me to earn around twelve thousand every month," Rajput told Gaon Connection. She owns five cattle, purchased in last three years with her savings and money earned from milk production. "Now I am capable of sending my three children – two girls and a boy – to the school regularly," she added.

Somewhat similar is the story of Meena Rajput, a farmer from Prithvipur Nyakhera village in Jhansi. "I work in my three acre farmland along with my husband. As a member of Balinee, I can earn two-to-three thousand more with my extra milk production," she said.

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Balinee denotes 'strong women' and the Balinee Milk Producer Company Limited was set up under a project funded by National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission (UP-SRLM) with technical support of NDDB Dairy Services(NDS). The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) works to promote, finance and support the producer-owned organisations. It was inaugurated by Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath in December 2019.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurates the Balinee Milk Producer Company Limited

Balinee is a company of Uttar Pradesh's rural women of Bundelkhand region who collect, preserve and sell milk to create an employment opportunity for the women.The Balinee Milk Producer Company has around 40,000 members. Average milk procurement for March 2022 was (approximately) 104,753 kgpd. Meanwhile, milk payment till March 2022 was Rs. 201 crore (87% of turnover).

Fair and Transparent Milk Collection System

Milk procurement process in Balinee Milk Producer Company provides an ease in the collection and transfer of the milk. "We ensure to remove the middle-men from the entire process right from collection to storage in our eleven storage centres, each centre is handling approximately 60-70 villages where milk comes through milk van for quality-cum-quantity testing and chilling at 4 degree centigrade," said O P Singh, Chief Executive of the milk producer company.

Milk Pooling Points (MPP) in more than 700 villages, which are part of the Balinee's network, are fully automated. These are the points where villagers bring milk to deposit. Milk is weighted and tested in the presence of milk sellers (dairy farmers). "Transparency is maintained with data collection and acknowledgement receipt is provided to the members immediately," Singh added.

Milk containers being transported from the villages.

Milk collection at these pooling points is going on 365 days without any holiday in two shifts and members are paid on the basis of quality of the milk such as fat and SNF (solids not fat) percentage. Members (dairy farmers who sell their milk) are paid in every ten days, which takes care of the previous complaints of delays in payments by traditional selling of milk to dudhiya/middle man.

"Regular and timely payment directly in member's bank accounts smoothens the cashless money transfer," Singh told Gaon Connection.

Also Read: Rural women ditch traditional farming methods to tackle wild animal menace and water logging in flood prone areas

Predictably, villagers are happy. Mahadevi, a resident of Raksha village in Jhansi said that being a member of the Balinee network helps her receive timely payments, out of which she is also able to save some money.

"I can go to the bank anytime and withdraw the money easily. It also benefits me to keep a check on my monthly expenses," Mahadevi told Gaon Connection. The timely payments have also revived the Jan Dhan accounts of the members, which earlier had no balance.

Village-to-Village Connectivity for Milk Transportation

From the pooling centres in villages, the milk is transported in vehicles in milk containers (one vehicle per ten villages) to the testing centres and stored in bulk milk chilling units. These units are owned by the company and funded by SRLM. Around 11 chilling units have been set up in the six engaged districts of UP's Bundelkhand.

The Balinee project cuts the travel cost for the members as they sell their produce (milk) directly to the large players. Balinee company sells a large chunk of its milk collection to Mother Dairy and other private organisations.

Veterinary Services

The Balinee project also works to help members with advice and medical aids for their cattle and through various means like artificial insemination, ration balancing, availability of good quality green fodder seed, cattle feed, mineral mixture and through various awareness camp to prevent mastitis, reproductive problem of animal, etc. helping the farmers in the mission of productivity enhancement of their herd. Around 2,915 metric tonnes cattle feed and 20 MT 'mineral mixture' has been made available till February this year.

"Through Balinee, I receive green fodder for my cattle which is better than what we locally produce," Mahadevi of Raksha village said.

Also Read: Bijli sakhi, pashu sakhi, aajeevika sakhi – Uttar Pradesh's cadre of rural women

"Regular interactions of veterinary doctors with Balinee members are initiated to create awareness about the productivity of their cattle and ways to improve it," said Singh.

Balinee veterinary doctor interacts with Balinee members

Socio-Economic Impact of Intervention

Balinee draws remarkable achievements with payment to farmers which is 87 per cent of the turnover and Rs 7,500,000 bonus in the last financial year (FY2021-22). "I take it as a social cause which empowers not only me but also thousands of women associated with the company," said Uma Kanti Pal, director, Balinee Milk Producer Company Ltd.

According to Pal, the project has increased participation of women in dairying activity. It boosts rural employment with rural women/youth as sahayak, AI technicians, etc. It also facilitates indirect employment for people engaged in ancillary activities such as milk chilling, transportations etc, she said.

"I am motivated to connect the remaining two districts of Bundelkhand in UP with Balinee. We have already started to work in this direction," Pal told Gaon Connection.

This story has been done as part of a collaboration with Transform Rural Indian Foundation.

#story #bundelkhand #women empowerment #Dairy 

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