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Himachal: Dairy overhaul

Milk processing plants in the state which are dilapidated are set to get a technological upgrade.

Sanjeev Kumar | Shimla |

With almost all milk processing plants in a dilapidated condition owing to outdated technology, the dairy sector in Himachal Pradesh is all set for an overhaul. The HP Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd (Milkfed) will carry out the upgradation activities in two big milk producing districts of the state, Shimla and Mandi.

“Recently, the project sanctioning committee under the chairmanship of Secretary Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fishery, Government of India, has sanctioned Rs 32.60 crore for strengthening the dairy sector,” Nihal Chand Sharma, Milkfed chairman, said. Sharma told The Statesman that Milkfed had submitted a proposal of Rs 109 crore for reviving the dairy sector and they have been provided Rs 32 crore in the first phase.

“Milkfed will set up new milk processing plants at Duttnagar in Rampur in Shimla district and in Mandi district with a capacity 50000 litres per day,” he said.

There are concerns over the quality of milk products in the market and to improve existing infrastructure, Milkfed would overhaul it and bring in new technological changes to compete with big brands.

There were also reports in the past that the milk produced and sold in Himachal contains pesticides and sometimes it is adulterated.

On the other hand, the milk produced in Himachal is more pure and is of high quality but the dairy products are not finding takers owing to low quality which is the result of outdated milk processing plants.

“We want to improve the existing set-up and remove the lacunae to provide quality dairy products to the citizens and reduce reliance on products from other states,” he said.

“Milkfed would overhaul the existing machinery and would set up computerised processing plants for quality improvement and to provide better quality products to consumers,” he said.

Milkfed has prepared a roadmap to emerge as a top brand in the state after making overall changes in existing infrastructure and this would benefit the farming sector too. Milkfed is trying to improve on the image and is planning to introduce modern technology for processing to make it a success among consumers.

Chand said the Federation would conduct research in the market on issues in existing products and redress them. After the survey, necessary changes would be made in the milk products and new products would be launched to attract more consumers.

Milkfed would also work towards raising farmers’ income and provide them with better prices for milk as the Federation is mulling an increase in prices of milk that is procured from farmers across the state. Milkfed is also mulling to introduce automatic milk collection units for collecting milk.

The technique would ensure transparent collection practice and result in better remunerative prices to milk producers that too on time. The collection centres are helpful in checking the quality of the milk accurately and they are provided with good rate, that too on time.

It reduces the complaints of the farmers as the quality of milk is measured on the spot and doesn’t use outdated techniques that cause dissatisfaction among them.

At present, Milkfed supplies around 20-25,000 litres of milk in Himachal Pradesh but the products couldn’t make an impact on consumers in the open market.

But with the start of new milk processing plants in Shimla and Mandi districts, Milkfed would be able to process 50,000 litres of milk every day at these two places.

Milkfed has also entered into an MoU with Civil Supplies Corporation to market HIM ghee and HIM sweets through 5000 shops of civil supplies corporation in the state.