India’s milk production stands at 176.4 million tonnes today. This has been majorly contributed by the women of the country who make up a share of more than 75 per cent in animal husbandry operations like feeding, milking and sale of milk. With an intent to empower women, Tata Power has supported the establishment of Maval Dairy Farmer Services Producer Company Ltd., Maharashtra’s 1st ‘All Women Dairy Enterprise’ at Maval in Pune.
To increase the accessibility and reach of the products, they are being made available to the consumers of Mumbai and Pune on the click of a button, under the brand name ‘Creyo’.
Established in 2015 with just 334 members, the Dairy has a fledging membership of 1,200 women farmers today moving from just being marginal farmers to proud agro- entrepreneurs who completely run and manage the project thereby, assuming leadership roles.
The project was brought to life through extensive collaboration between the community women of the region and Tata Power. An in-depth study on the feasibility of developing the Dairy project resulted in the establishment of the Maval Dairy Farmer Services Producer Company Ltd. that aims to empower women, economically and socially.
The project has developed 15 advanced well-equipped milk collection centres covering 26 villages. It has also ensured that there is complete transparency in the operations and commercial handling of the plant along with the associated community members and the Dairy farmers receive the actual price realization of their produce. Currently, the plant procures around 6,000 litres/day of milk from the various villages associated with the project.
Mr Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD, Tata Power, said “Maval Dairy is an outcome of our relentless efforts to help the local communities become self-sufficient. The real heroes of this story are the women who took the co-operative route to chart their own destinies and are today a shining example of what self-help can achieve. I would like to thank our partner ALC India for being a bridge between the farmers in Maval and Tata Power’s commitment towards our sustainability goals.”
“Traditionally, men have dominated the dairy cooperative business in India, but there has been a progressive change. Essentially, the roles of women were restricted to care-providers, feeding and milking the animals. In recent times, their increased participation has strengthened the dairy cooperative movement.
Our thought behind starting this project was empowering these rural women by giving them a platform to completely run and manage the project. To encourage all the women members of the Maval dairy to assume leadership roles they were provided ‘Mini Dairy Entrepreneurship’ certification and orientation training on Clean Milk Production and Animal Management”, said Mr Ashwin G Patil, Head – Hydros, Tata Power.
Progressively, it is also working towards enhancing milk collection and adding new members to the Dairy by conducting surveys in surrounding areas and identifying the requirements of people in Maval. To meet the requirement and run the plant at its full capacity, the project has added 15 new villages to the project. Over the last four years, the local pastoral community that covers 3000 farmer households has also integrated other support services like mini dairy farms, veterinary services, training for managing dairy farms and product marketing.
To give an impetus to the project, the Dairy will not only supply milk to larger cities like Mumbai and Pune but will also produce high-quality dairy products including paneer (cottage cheese), cream, buttermilk etc.