Monday, February 12, 2018

India with Class 9: Dairy processing & Ag lending and Rural development

Day two started with a trip to Mahanand Dairy Cooperative. On the bus trip, our tour guide Raj gave us a background of the dairy industry in India. India is the number one milk producing country in the world, and also has the largest number of dairy cows. Residents drink cow milk as well as water buffalo milks. The cow is sacred in the Hindu religion. It is illegal to kill a cow, and doing so is punishable by seven years in jail.  As we were visiting the dairy cooperative, we also learned about co-ops. Co-ops are popular in India in fact, the three largest coops in the world are in India.

 Bulk milk delivery trucks.  Drivers of all kinds of products
elaborately decorate their trucks.
A few of the products we tasted.
Billie Clanton and Matt Dybedahl sampling Lassi, a sweet, cultured
milk drink that is quite common in India.
At Mahanand Dairy Cooperative we spoke to their product development specialists. Mr. Karad spoke to us about the co-op and the products they produce. Some of the products they produce are Ultra High Temperature pasteurized (shelf stable) milk, flavored milk, Ghee (clarified butter), Lassi (drinkable yogurt), Chass (buttermilk), and Amarakhand (flavored custard), all of which we got to try. The farmer receives 21 rupees per litre / $1.77 per gallon / $14.66 per hundred-weight.  In India, farms produce 140 million tonnes of milk annually, and had a 3.97% increase from the previous year. The average milk production per cow is two gallons per day. Most farms have two to four dairy cows that they milk by hand. The dairy cooperative strives to have the best products, and their goal is to have the most nutritious cow milk and follow several non-required international safety protocol, including that human hands do not touch the products. Mahanand had much more milk production capacity than is currently utilized and they are looking to expand dairy production in the region and make new products. The facility currently employees 1200 people and runs three shifts, 24 hours per day.

Jennifer Henrie checking out the Ghee, a clarified
butter popular throughout India for cooking.
Kyle and Derick reading labels of a cultured milk product.

After lunch we visited the National Bank for Agriculture andRural Development (NABARD). NABARD is a government agency that helps small farmers obtain operating loans. They started in 1982 and have expanded their services over the years to encourage rural development in India. Their vision is to “Develop Bank of the Nation for fostering rural prosperity”. They have an office in every state, and 423 one-man offices in each region. The one-man office plays an important role at the ground level in developing budgets for the entire district. They offer loans, credit cards, training opportunities, youth development, policy development, rural infrastructure development, and farm producer organizations (similar to coops). Our view was that they were similar to the Farm Credit Administration and USDA.

Very interesting discussion with these men regarding their lending and development programs.
We also had a discussion about NABARD Consultancy Services (Nabcons) is a subsidiary of Nabard. The have been working on several assignments and look for inefficiencies in the production and processing of several agricultural product. Basically the organization looks for gabs and limitations to help the government create agricultural policies and guide lending priorities.

Adam Schindler and Brian Gilbert had a lot of good questions for NABARD.
We also talked generally about agriculture in India. First we learned that 70% of the population works in agriculture, the average income in India is about $1600. The farms are very small, each family owns about 1.5 acres of land. A very large farm is considered to be 5 acres, and there is a limit on the amount of land one person can own; the limit varies by state from 15-30 acres. We also learned that 80% of the mozzarella in the world comes from water buffalo, which produces milk with higher fat content.  The two major challenges within the ag industry in India are that the farms can’t become more mechanized because of the cap on the amount of acres that can be owned by one farmer, and climate change because much of the land relies on natural rain due to limited irrigation.

We spent the evening debriefing around the pool about our first days in India. Tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. we head to New Dehli!