Shreeja: A milk dairy run by women

IN A MILK DAIRY nearly 75,000 women who supply milk to homes are shareholders and all the board of directors including Chairperson are women. The company was established in 2014 with Tirupati as its headquarters. Women head the organisation and milk suppliers are women. Emphasis on right quality of milk is the reason behind the success of Shreeja Milk Dairy. To become members of the organisation, women need to contribute to the capital and they have to supply minimum 200 days of milk and a minimum quantity of 500 litres per year.

The idea behind establishing the dairy was to empower women financially in the drought prone area of Chittoor district where male farmers could not earn anything in agriculture. Women can stay at home, maintain the cows and earn some money, which will be of immense use to their families, said Chief Executive of Shreeja Dairy, Jayatheertha Chary.

“Actually women have been excelling in cow management in the district where milk is a major industry. To provide them a reasonable support price for their milk was the basic idea which has earned distinction in the country by emerging as the largest such company.”

The Producer’s company was established with the idea conceived by National Dairy Development Board which gives technical support and financial aid besides supporting marketing. The quality of their products was tested and certified by National Institute of Nutrition.

In India, there are five such milk producers’ companies among which Shreeja is the only women milk producers’ company. Starting from a mere 27 shareholders now it has crossed 75000 mark in its journey. Its turnover was around ₹ 360 crores and employed 325 persons. The company gives dividends to the shareholders and even pays bonus to those who supply milk for more than 200 days in a year in a bid to encourage others. During last financial year they have paid ₹ 3.13 crores as bonus. All the payments are credited directly to their accounts every 15 days. Its activities spread to neighbouring Nellore and Anantapur districts also.

Presently, the company procures 3.5 lakh litres of milk on an average per day and has about 2400 milk pooling points. Milk is cooled at bulk milk cooling centres and sent to Balaji Dairy in Tirupati, where processing and packing of milk, butter milk and curds is done. Besides selling the milk products on their own, Shreeja also sells milk in bulk quantity to Mother Dairy and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

The company trains women to acquire leadership qualities to help in running business and in management of cows. Now, the woman are even insuring their animals and observing deworming day for animals to make them healthy.

The Chairman of Board of Directors B Lavanya Kumari shared, “We had a tough journey to reach this stage. We have succeeded in creating confidence among all women milk producers and taking all steps to maintain the same. There was heavy competition in milk industry especially in this district, but we have managed to withstand successfully with our principles and policies.”