Government operationalises dairy processing fund; provides ₹ 440 cr to NDDB

UNION AGRICULTURE MINISTER Shri Radha Mohan Singh has recently handed over ₹ 440 crore cheque to Shri Dilip Rath, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) from the Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF), initiating the formal launch of the fund set up to provide soft loans to modernise and raise capacity of dairy cooperatives.

NABARD has set up the DIDF with a corpus of ₹ 8,004 crore to bring more dairy farmers into organised milk marketing through cooperatives. The fund is implemented through NDDB and National Cooperative Development Corporation. The funding support is given to dairy cooperatives at an interest rate of 6.5 per cent per annum and will have to be reimbursed over a period of 10 years.

Speaking about the fund, the minister said NABARD has so far sanctioned ₹ 843.81 crore under the DIDF for 15 projects with an outlay of ₹ 1,148.61 crore for dairy cooperatives in Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana. Out of this, a cheque of ₹ 440 crore was handed over to NDDB for six milk unions. The DIDF is aimed creating at additional milk processing capacity of 126 lakh litre per day, milk drying capacity of 210 million tonne (MT) per day and milk chilling capacity of 140 lakh litre per day. This fund will benefit 95 lakh farmers in about 50,000 villages. Many skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers will get employment, directly and indirectly.

Expressing concern over poor infrastructure in cooperative dairies, the NDDB Chairman said that the fund will benefit them to modernise and expand the processing capacity in a big way. He, however, cautioned milk unions availing loans from the DIDF to complete the projects on time and asked them to adopt modern technology to run at low cost and focus on marketing and diversification to get better returns. Shri Dilip Rath also stated that NDDB has to sanction a loan of ₹ 8,004 crore in the next two years. He was hopeful that the targets would be achieved.

According to Shri R.S. Sodhi, Managing Director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd., the cooperatives will send proposals seeking loans from the DIDF as it has plans to increase from existing 3.6 crore litre per day capacity to 8 crore litre per day in the next 10 years. At present, the country has a dairy processing capacity (both cooperative and private sectors) of 9 crore litre per day. Out of which, GCMMF alone has 3.6 crore litre per day capacity.

The way consumption is rising in double digit, the capacity will have to be increased to 30 crore litre per day in the next 10 years. And, to set up a dairy processing capacity of 20 crore litre per day, a minimum investment of ₹ 80,000-90,000 crore is required.

India is the largest milk producer in the world with an estimated production of 176.35 MT. The vision 2022 document has pegged the country's milk production at 254.5 MT.