Sikkim Milk Union or Sikkim Co-Operative Milk Producer’s Union Ltd on Thursday organized a consultation-cum-brainstorming meeting with National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) officials to enhance the efficiency of operation of Sikkim Milk Union at Tadong here.
The meeting was chaired by Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services secretary and Sikkim Sikkim Milk Union managing director Dr. P. Senthil Kumar and attended by NDDB team consisting of senior manager and team leader Dr. Sabyasachi Roy, and managers Manoj Kumar Rajput,
Dr. Pritam K. Saikia, Dr. Rituraj Borah and Ms Shrestha along with officials from Sikkim Milk Union consisting of additional GM Kesang Barfungpa, joint GM Vishal Tiwari, deputy GM Dr. Neel Kamal Pradhan, and other officials from procurement, processing, accounting and marketing, informs a press release.
Sikkim Milk Union Survey
At the outset, the NDDB presented their findings on the survey conducted during September 2021 in Sikkim on the procurement, processing and marketing aspects of the Sikkim Co-Operative Milk Producer’s Union Ltd.
NDDB presented in details about the issues and challenges faced by the Sikkim Milk Union Ltd in procurement especially sustaining the quality particularly the microbial quality from the procurement till reaching the plant.
Their presentation stressed on the importance of maintaining quality at society level both in fat and SNF level and also in microbial quality and the need for testing infrastructure and practicing the same in a more technical manner to ensure quality.
The NDDB also emphasized on the non-tenable pricing structure adopted in procurement. The team was of opinion that the present procurement milk price chart of September 2021 has to be relooked at keeping the market price structure and quality in view.
The chart has pricing also for unacceptable quality milk and the price were fixed not in commensurate with the quality requirement of the organised sector. The minimum standards in procurement as prescribed by FSSAI need to be followed.
At this pricing the Sikkim Milk Union will not be competitive in the market to sell their milk in open market. This will make the Sikkim Co-Operative Milk Producer’s Union Ltd unsustainable and sick soon. The symptoms are already visible in the union.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for rationalisation of procurement price in order to benefit dairy farmers and to make the Sikkim Milk Union Ltd a sustainable organization, the release mentions.
With regard to processing, there were many suggestions in respect to Jorethang dairy plant to bring the standard of operation to acceptable levels. The interventions suggested were accepted by the union and shall work on it improve the processing in both Gangtok and Jorethang dairy plants.
Similarly, the NDDB team presented market survey conducted by them and the status of market milk in the State and also consumer preferences in milk and milk products. The study indicated the areas where milk union can work in future to sustain the market from competitors and find new avenues in the market.
There were detailed discussion on the findings of the survey and several measures were suggested for improvement.
The NDDB also suggested to venture into organic milk production in the State. They have presented success story from Sundarban Milk Union in West Bengal, where the union have achieved production of certified organic milk. If they can achieve, Sikkim can definitely achieve it.
There was brain storming on organic milk production and the scope for it in Sikkim. While discussion, it was opined that there is a possibility to make organic milk production in West Sikkim by identifying suitable clusters.
There shall be effort to make cattle feed out of the organic agriculture crops within Sikkim year round to sustain the efforts and similarly there shall be mechanism and inputs to proactive ethno-veterinary medicine in organic clusters in order to make organic milk production and processing possible in the State.
The team was confident that Sikkim can easily achieve organic milk production in the State. The NDDB team informed that NDDB, being the apex technical organisation on milk in the country, possess all required expertise and assured that the team will extend all support to achieve organic milk production and also support other areas of milk procurement, processing marketing to Sikkim Co-Operative Milk Producer’s Union Ltd, the release adds.