MANGALDAI, June 19 - The Pub Mangaldai area of Darrang district, especially villages like Saikiapara, Gelaidingi, Hirapara and Khataniapara etc., have shown good potential in milk production.
A few years back, more than 50 dairy farmers of the locality with a mission to bring white revolution to Mangaldai, formed a cooperative society among themselves. Since then they altogether have been producing more than 700 litres of milk daily on an average. Encouragingly, over the last couple of years, the milk production has shown an increase following guidance and advice from the scientists of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Darrang under Assam Agricultural University.
However, these milk producers have failed to get an organised market for their products. Since there are less buyers in the village area, they have to move to Mangaldai town but there too they are compelled to sell milk against an aggregate wholesale price of Rs 40 per litre. These dairy farmers used to sell majority of their milk at the counter on the bank of Mangaldai Bor Pukhuri which had been set up nearly eight years ago by the Darrang district administration with the help of the Mangaldai Municipal Board under the banner of a local NGO with the sole intention of providing a well-organised market for the local dairy farmers with a minimum support price and also assuring the consumers pure quality of milk at a reasonable price.
However, the very purpose and character of this milk sale counter has allegedly been changed as the management of this centre converted it to a commercial sweets counter where all bakery products along with sweets are sold giving hardly any importance to sell milk in its purest form at a reasonable price and at the same time are purchasing milk only from the dairy farmers against a minimum support price. �The sale counter has lost its original character. Now it is totally under a single person. Milk is sold in retail at Rs 50 per litre, whereas we are paid only Rs 40 per litre. If anyone of us raises a voice for a rise in purchase rate, the owner of the counter simply stops purchasing his products. He never bothers to reject us as he is hardly concerned with purchasing and selling pure products, rather he buys impure milk from the market at a much lower price than ours�, said a section of dairy farmers on condition of anonymity. �There is nearly 80 per cent rise in cost of production including commercial feed, bran, labour etc. However, we have been paid the same price for long. We are deeply in need of an organised market for our products not only within the district but also in Guwahati so that our mission of white revolution flourishes�, the farmers added.
Meanwhile, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Darrang has come forward to extend their helping hand to these potential dairy farmers so that the losses they had suffered during the lockdown period somehow get repaired and they are being encouraged to continue their efforts to produce milk possibly with some cuts in cost of production to grab the competitive market. As a part of this initiative, a two-member team of KVK, Darrang comprising its head-cum-chief scientist Dr Abdul Hafiz and scientist, Animal Science section Muzaharul Islam recently visited the dairy farmers and discussed their problems resulting from the COVID pandemic situation and its possible solution. Later, talking to this newspaper chief scientist Dr Hafiz said , �We had a close interaction with the dairy farmers where we came to know that these hard working young farmers are not at all disheartened over their recent losses and they are ready to turn around the situation with little support of a scientific market mechanism with an assured minimum support price. I have promised them to forward their demand to the State Animal Husbandry Department and also to the concerned minister with necessary liaisoning through the district administration,� Dr Hafiz maintained.