GUWAHATI, July 28: Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh on Saturday said that Meghalaya Milk Mission would facilitate in achieving the Centre’s goal of doubling farmer’s income by 2022 through promotion of milk business in the state.
Announcing a sanctioned project of Rs 215 crores through National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) at the launching programme of Meghalaya Milk Mission in Shillong, the minister said that the amount would be utilised for various training under dairy farm, chilling centre and purchase of milch animal.
The minister said that the Meghalaya Milk Mission has been conceptualised to plug the demand-supply gap in the per capita milk availability. Stating that the per capita milk availability in Meghalaya is much lower than the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR’s) recommendation of milk consumption per person, the minister said that the Milk Mission will enable the state to substitute the import of milk with the state’s own production.
The minister mentioned that there are cooperatives in only 97 villages out of the 6449 villages of Meghalaya, while there can be cooperative societies in 60 per cent of the total villages. Acknowledging the potential of the state for agriculture and related sectors, the minister said that cooperatives can play an important role in the development of this sector. The minister mentioned that Centre is strengthening the cooperatives of the State, working in different sectors, through NCDC, which will open new dimensions of employment in the state.
The minister said that the Milk Mission would generate alternate livelihoods for the rural people of Meghalaya through diary sector. Two thousand farmers would be directly benefitted by this Mission over the next four years, he said. The minister said that the Milk Mission would also check the absence of organised marketing channels in the dairy sector in Meghalaya.
The project consists of 2000 dairy farm units, in one unit there is provision for purchase of five cows, shed constructions, storage room construction, animal insurance, 79 bulk milk coolers of 500 litre capacity, 13 milk tankers of 3000 litre capacity etc. There is also a provision of Rs 1 crore for the training of farmers in the project. The launch of the Mission, the minister said, will benefit Meghalaya immensely.
The Minister also informed that Integrated Cooperative Development Project (ICDP) project for the entire State, computerization of primary co-operatives and the possibilities of starting an integrated piggery value chain project are being explored.
Acknowledging the immense possibilities of handicraft, handloom, organic, farming, forest produce, horticulture, processing of fruits and vegetables, animal husbandry, poultry, fisheries, tourism etc, the minister said that the Central Government was looking forward to providing assistance to State cooperatives in these areas through NCDC.
Governor of Meghalaya Ganga Prasad said that the Mission was a comprehensive one, with essential components that cover both induction of new cows and development of indigenous cattle by selective breeding.
Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of (AH&Vety) Prestone Tynsong said that the Milk Mission would help in addressing the problem of unemployment in the State to a great extent and that it will facilitate self employment. (Agencies)