Availability of fresh milk in isles gets a boost

Port Blair
31 Mar 2017

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services has been striving to improve the status of availability of fresh milk in these islands. Against the total current demand of 4500 litres milk per day, 2200 litres is met from fresh milk and balance quantity is met with reconstituting milk powder.
To minimize the gap between demand and supply for fresh milk, various programmes like up-gradation of local cattle using frozen semen technology, mass castration of scrub bulls, establishment of milk cooperative societies, establishment of liquid milk plant etc. have been implemented in the past decades which have resulted in increased milk production.
One of the major contributions of the department in this regard is mobilization of surplus milk from North and Middle Andamans to feed the Milk plant at Port Blair. The milk plant, maintained and operated by the Andaman & Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO) has a capacity to process 8000 litres milk per day and facilities for production of pasteurized milk, curd, paneer and khoa. Since 1997, the Corporation started milk procurement from the farmers of South Andaman which was later expanded upto Neil Island in 2006. However, the efforts of the Department in improving the milk productivity at N & M Andamans were being undermined due to lack of marketing facilities for the local milk producers. To provide an assured market to these livestock owners, the Department provided Rs. 1.25 crores for establishing cold chain to facilitate collection and transportation of surplus milk from N & M Andaman to the Milk Plant at Port Blair. A 1000 ltrs capacity chiller was established at Diglipur while two more chillers of 500 ltrs capacity were installed at Mohanpur and Kadamtalla. At present ANIIDCO is collecting 1800 litres of Milk from N&M Andaman per day benefitting 540 farmers who get assured remuneration at regular intervals.
The success of the scheme has led to demands from adjoining villages willing to be covered under the milk supply scheme. Considering the potential of milk collection from other areas of Middle Andamans, the Department has provided Grant-in-Aid amounting to Rs. 1.9 crores to ANIIDCO Ltd to set up additional chilling plants and augment collection. Under this expansion programme, 500 litre capacity chillers will be established at Rangat, Dharmapur  (Shivapuram Panchayat) and  Tugapur while 1000 litre capacity chillers each will be established at Diglipur and Neil Island during 2017. The department has already allotted one building at Veterinary Hospital Complex, Rangat for the purpose.
It is anticipated that after the milk collection infrastructure is put in place in the new areas, the number of farmers supplying milk to ANIIDCO will increase to around 800 farmers and the milk collection will be increased from the existing 1800 ltrs to more than 4500 ltrs per day over a period of two years. In the subsequent years it is expected that more farmers will join the project and the milk production as well as milk collection from the area would substantially be increased. The Corporation is also procuring milk from the farmers of Neil Island. There is no chilling facility at Neil Island and the raw milk as such is transported to Port Blair by Boat because of which milk gets spoiled in case of non availability or delay of ships. The 1000 ltr capacity chiller to be established at Neil Island will address the long time demand of the livestock farmers of the area.
The establishment of cold chain for marketing of milk will also boost animal husbandry activities with cattle rearing already becoming popular resulting in upliftment of socio economic status of the farmers.