PATACHARKUCHI, June 15 � Dairy farming is flourishing in Bajali subdivision resulting in record production of milk, which has augmented the incomes of the people and also solved the burning unemployment problem to a considerable extent in the area. Its impact is also spreading outside the subdivision. It may be mentioned that several thousand litres of milk is being produced daily by the farmers, who besides fulfilling the local needs, sell a major portion of the milk to Purabi Dairy.
Earlier, the farmers were constrained to limit milk production, due to lack of proper market facilities. But now that problem is not there as Purabi Dairy has started procuring milk by setting up as two bulk milk cooling plants in the area. Since the last few years, the people especially of the rural areas of the subdivision have taken to dairy farming in a big way in a scientific manner. They are producing milk with the help of cross- bred cows taking loans from the NABARD and the technical support of the Veterinary & Dairy department.
Most of the households have started dairy farming as a means to generate income, changing the socioeconomic condition of the people remarkably. A white revolution has indeed begun in Bajali subdivision.
Hemen Kakati and Khanin Kakati of Barbang village once used to live but dairy farming has transformed their living standards. They have constructed a three-room house and purchased a four-wheeler vehicle too. They earlier started milk production with local cows but later switched over to cross- bred cows and today they sell 35 litres of milk daily. One of them is matriculate and another HS passed. They are also cultivating grasses of various types. They are paying their loan instalments regularly and presently thinking of expanding their farm. One of them has availed free training in Gujarat in the field. Mention may be made that a number of people in batches have taken free training under the initiative of the Animal husbandry and Veterinary departments.
Bimal Sarma of Ratanapur village is a progressive farmer. He and his family members sell 150 litres of milk daily besides selling milk products in the local area regularly. He has a total of 34 cows, out of which 14 are giving milk at present. Dr Hitesh Pathak, Veterinary Assistant Surgeon and in charge of dairy extension informed that one of the remarkable things that the farmers are doing is that they are cultivating varieties of grass which reduces the fodder cost. Bimal Sarma cultivates oats, reena, bajra, sargam and makoi grass in 8 bighas of land. This family made a curd-making machine at a cost of Rs 80,000. This machine can produce 500 litres of curd in five hours. Now Sarma can easily supply curd as per the order of customers in the area. His brother, Bijay Sarma, a technician trained in the field of electronics, constructed the machine in their home.
Bimal Sarma, while describing his struggle and story of success, rued that the prices of milk have not been revised by Purabi for the last one-and-a-half year, but during the period prices of essential commodities and fodder have hit the roof and as a result they were sustaining losses.
Biju Kumar Deka, an educated youth of Bezkuchi village informed that he is now producing 40 litres of milk daily and for fodder he is cultivating grass in half a bigha of land. He is a member of Bezkuchi Dairy Cooperative Society which has 136 members and is collecting 350 litres of milk presently. Kamdhenu DCS ( Dairy Cooperative Society), Nityananda is collecting 7000 litres of milk per day from their 942 members. A number of DCSs have been formed in the Bajali Development block which are producing record amounts of milk. The three farmers mentioned above have just been taken randomly to show their success stories. Presently thousands of farmers are busy in dairy farming in various villages under Bajali subdivision.
The Economic Planning Forum, Department of Economics, Pragjyotish College, Guwahati recently conducted a survey in association with the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary departments, Assam on the impact of dairy farming in changing livelihoods during Assam Agriculture Competitiveness Project (AACP) intervention in Bajali area of Barpeta district. It found that the dairy farming has improved income levels in rural areas, has generated employment opportunities and has improved the nutritional standard of people of the area. There is progressive development in dairy activities in and around Bajali Development Block of Barpeta district leading to substantial increase in milk production through formation of Dairy Cooperative Societies during AACP. They found that at present there is a marketing of 8270 litres of milk per day out of 12000 litres produced by 1270 DCS members. Out of this, 600 litres of milk is procured by Purabi Dairy, Guwahati while 500 litres and 1770 litres are marketed at Barpeta and Bajali respectively. During the survey, they collected data from Bamakhata DCS, Muguria DCS, Pathsala DCS, Ankuran Pathla, Kapili DCS, Dumuria DCS, Ashroy DCS, Haripur DCS, Hiumalaya DCS, Nityananda DCS, Nityananda, Bezkuchi DCS, Baghmara DCS, Pahumara DCS, Saderi Antaranga DCS, Rehabari DCS, Seuji DCS, Halongbari DCS, Kamdhenu DCS, Nityananda, Hathinapur DCS and some non-DCS members. It was found that overall growth rate of cross-bred animals was 40.35 per cent during the study period. After intervention of AACP, the percentage of farmers having net income of Rs 5000 and above has increased to 64.4 per cent and about 40 per cent farmers are producing more than 15 litres of milk daily after the AACP came in, which is definitely a remarkable achievement.
After intervention of AACP, maximum farmers (87.6 %) receive Rs 28 per litre of milk and above by selling through DCS. The percentage of farmers selling more than 10 litres of milk was only 12 per cent before intervention of the AACP which has increased to 65.1 per cent after intervention. After the intervention of AACP maximum farmers produce fodder at the homestead. Animal health care has increased from 1.9 per cent to 7.6 per cent after intervention of AACP. 91 % farmers utilise their income on household consumption and investment expenditure and also invest in bank and other saving societies.