This desi ghee is in high demand everywhere from the US to Singapore

Profitable Dairy Business: Prices for milk are falling, but there are people who still profit from milk and milk products, making dairy a profitable venture. These people, however, have made few changes in their operations and focused on purity because of which their products are much sought after in India and abroad

Diti BajpaiDiti Bajpai   20 Sep 2019 7:46 AM GMT

This desi ghee is in high demand everywhere from the US to Singapore

Not only in India but also in many other countries, farmers fail to get a good price for their milk. Prices for milk are falling, but there are people who still profit from milk and milk products making dairy a profitable venture. These people, however, have made a few changes in their operations and focused on purity. By virtue of purity, their products are much sought after in India and abroad.

If the quality of milk is good, the prices would be fair too, this is proven by Haryana's farmer Mohan Singh Ahluwalia. Today more than five lakh farmers like him are being benefitted. Ahluwalia is also the voice behind farmers' protests from villages to Delhi streets regarding milk prices. A few years ago, he founded the milkman-chapter of the Anti-Adulteration Society, which today has a membership base of over five lakh farmers.

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A new ray of hope for the dairy industry

Talking about the Anti Adulteration Society's drive, its milkman seat's National Head, Mohan Singh Ahluwalia, told Gaon Connection: "In 2011, we, along with many members of the milkman chapter, had protested for the increase in milk prices by splashing milk on the roads of Delhi from the Jantar Mantar to the Parliament. We continued the movement for about six months and didn't leave single politicians whom we had not raised the issue with."

He added: "During this time the Delhi chief minister directed me not to adulterate the milk. Following this, we tried and supplied about 84,000 liters of unadulterated milk to the capital and learnt that by providing unadulterated milk, the farmer would automatically get the price he deserves for his milk."

From Haryana on the way to Chandigarh is the village of Kheri on Panchkula Road where the headquarters of Mohan Singh's AntiAdulteration Society Milkman Chapter is. The place is a new ray of hope for the dairy industry. This company oversees the production and export of native cows' pure ghee, paneer, curd, buttermilk and butter sourced from various milk-producers of many states.

Anti-adulteration drive has spread across over five lakh farmers from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana. As per Ahluwalia, no farmer associated with society uses pesticides in any form. This is why their products are kept in the number one category by the US, based on their consistent purity of milk products.

"The ghee produced by the milkman chapter is being exported to the US, Singapore, Ukraine, Dubai and Bahrain. Besides we have many more offers from other countries to sell our products there," said Mohan Singh, adding: "In the US, our products are kept in Category One which means our products are delivered directly to the consumer without any scrutiny or check. Also, our products are displayed in the Mustafa Mall of Singapore."

This company oversees the production and export of native cows' pure ghee sourced from various milk-producers of many states. This company oversees the production and export of native cows' pure ghee sourced from various milk-producers of many states.

A member of the Animal Welfare Board, Mohan Singh Ahluwalia is the person whose 2018 report had spread a sensation across the country in which he had claimed 68% of the milk and milk products retailed in the country to be adulterated. Seeing the state of milk in the country,the World Health Organisation had even issued an advisory to India.

The price which Mohan Singh gets at the international market enables him to pay the farmers associated with him more than their costs.

Throughout the country, the milk prices have caused great worries to the farmers with many farmer unions seeking to settle a minimum support price. So, this movement of Mohan Singh and dairy farmers is exemplary. They even have a slogan-- koi daan nahi, koi chanda nahi, koi subsidy nadi bas kamm ke badle daam(no donation, no pittance, nor a subsidy only price for the work).

Mentioning one of his travels, Ahluwalia said, "When I visited Himachal's Kinnaur, Rampurbaser, Bilaspur and Kangra districts, I found that the milk there was fetching very little price—Rs14-15 a liter. I suggested them to stop selling milk for 10 days and give free unadulterated milk to the people thereby creating a small milk market to sell the same milk."

He added, "They did as I told them. Slowly people took to pay fair price for the unadulterated milk they liked. No farmer as I know got less than Rs35 for the milk."

India is the biggest producer of milk in the world. In 2018, our country had produced 176.3 million liters of milk. India's share of the total world's milk production is about 20% but the farmers associated with the dairy industry don't get the prices justifying their costs.

The price for milk is based on the fat and SNF present in the milk sample. Cooperatives fix the price on the basis of 6.5% fat and 9.5% SNF. Thereafter a decrease in fat content will see a reduction in price. The farmer who sells milk directly to the market or consumers are hence benefitted but those unable to do so have to sell their products to various private dairy companies at whatever price they get.

How can farmers earn from milk?

Mohan Singh said the farmer thinks that the cooperatives or companies will give him a good price, this isn't so. Farmers will have to make small cooperatives of their own or else sell milk by forming FPO or a self-help group. Besides, they can create milk markets at village, town or in cities and focus on selling milk at the local level instead of aspiring to sell at Delhi."

Every farmer associated with the milkman chapter is extended support.

"The way a soldier works at the border, similarly a farmer gets up at four in the morning. Whether be it hot or cold or raining he has toput fodder and water for the animals and so after much toil he produces milk. Whichever is the issue—personal, price related or animal welfare-- we provide our full support and assistance to our members," said Mohan Singh.

Haryana's farmer Mohan Singh Ahluwalia being interviewed by the Gaon ConnectionHaryana's farmer Mohan Singh Ahluwalia being interviewed by the Gaon Connection

Regular motivation is given to council the farmers

So that the farmers associated with the milkman chapter get a fair price for their products, they are motivated in teams from time to time. Mohan Singh said: "It is our job to educate the farmer associated with us about the latest improvements and our histories. So, through plays and music, we inform them in their own language."

Country has a thriving business of adulterated milk

One reason behind the farmers' inability to secure a fair price is that of adulterated milk. Farmers' organization has often asked for measures to curb the sale of adulterated milk and enforcing strict laws.

Citing an example of adulteration business Mohan Singh said: "The country does not have actual production of milk to match up to its demand. In some villages, there are 1,000 houses out of which only 400 houses have cows thereby supplying 600 other houses. So, they would not have milk enough to supply elsewhere. In such a situation where the villages don't have adequate milk who is supplying milk to the city folks?" he entreats people to buy directly from the farmers.

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