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Odisha Odyssey: A look at the emerging commercial dairy value chains in eastern India


 

Odisha_Signboard_Cropped

Bhadrak, Odisha, was one of several ILRI-CSISA project sites in India (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on
‘Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—
A dozen stories from northern and eastern India’.

PART 7:
Odisha Odyssey:
A look at the emerging commercial dairy value chains in eastern India

Written by Jules Mateo, Pradeep Sahoo, Braja Swain and Susan MacMillan

In recent years, scientists of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have been working with institutional partners and local farmer organizations in Odisha, a large eastern state of India on the Bay of Bengal, on research to improve the feed and fodder resources readily available to smallholder livestock keepers. ILRI conducted this collaborative research through a CGIAR Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) aiming to increase and sustain small-farm productivity in selected regions of Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Dairy businesses around the city of Bhadrak, in northern Odisha State, are growing (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

As part of an ILRI photojournalism trip to India undertaken in early Mar 2016, the authors visited a town on the outskirts of Bhadrak, a city in northern Odisha, to capture a bit of what the ILRI-led CSISA work has accomplished for small-scale dairy farmers in the area.

Dairying in Odisha

Dairy cows are kept in sheds and well cared for and fed (ILRI/Jules Mateo).

The team met with dairy producers, home-based cheesemakers, milk collectors and inspectors and other key players in Odisha’s emerging commercial dairy value chain.

A milk collection centre in Odisha

A milk collection centre in Bhadrak run by an ILRI-trained paravet woman (ILRI/Jules Mateo).

First stop was a milk collection centre located in a village on the outskirts of Bhadrak, where customers carrying milk were queuing. This centre is run by a paravet woman who received dairy training from ILRI and local partners in the CSISA project. In addition to collecting milk, the centre provides the dairy farming community with concentrate feeds and good-quality cow and buffalo semen.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Concentrate feeds and cow and buffalo semen are also available at the centre (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

A block away was the team’s second stop, a large fodder farm growing various types of improved fodder plants and grasses, which are sold, cut and carried to local dairy cows and buffaloes.

Fodder for dairy cattle

A tract of land for growing fodder for dairy cattle (ILRI/Jules Mateo).

Next on the tour was a nearby integrated crop-livestock farm. And ‘integrated’ it truly was—with just the animal husbandry operations including several milk cows, daily cheese-making in the household kitchen, chickens pecking the earth at the front of the compound, and six large fish ponds at the back of the house, behind the cow stalls.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

An integrated farm with dairy cows, cheesemaking, chickens and fish ponds (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Like most smallholder producers, this integrated farm is a family-run business: everyone, every day, helps to raise the animals, feed the fish and make the cheese. The matriarch heading this household runs a tight ship and appears to have good, if ambitious, business sense. When complimented on her efficient, profitable and environmentally friendly integrated farm, she responded, ‘It’s hard work. I don’t sleep well at night’.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

The matriarch of the family who manages an integrated farming business (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The next stop, again only a few blocks away, was another farm, this one with dairy cows chewing their cud and grains drying in the sun at the front of the compound. The man who headed this household and led its dairy business work showed us an enclosed pen where he kept several prized milking cows. In a room next to the pen he stored a chopping machine, manufactured under ILRI’s direction, that he uses to cut fodder into small pieces for easier consumption and digestion by his milk cows.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Grains and milk in a farmer’s yard (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

An ILRI-developed chopper is used for cutting fodder for dairy cows (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

A milk chilling centre closer to the city proper was the team’s fifth and final stop for the morning. Inside a small single room, the centre’s modern freezer, vats and other milk storage equipment loomed large. The evening and morning milk delivered here by local farmers are chilled and trucked daily to Odisha’s capital, Bhubaneswar.

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

Dairy producers and processors in Bhadrack, Odisha State, India

A milk chilling centre on the outskirts of Bhadrak (ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Read previous parts in this blog series: Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—A dozen stories from northern and eastern India
Part 1: Colourful convocation: Jimmy Smith addresses graduates of India’s prestigious National Dairy Research Institute, 30 Mar 2016.
Part 2: Elite buffaloes and other exemplars of advanced Indian dairy science at the National Dairy Research Institute, 31 Mar 2016.
Part 3: Culture of the cow: Curds in the city—Better living through smallholder dairying in northern India, 5 Apr 2016.
Part 4: Building better brands and lives through peri-urban dairying and smart crop-dairy farming, 6 Apr 2015
Part 5: Wonder women of Bhubaneswar, 12 Apr 2016.
Part 6: Odisha Odyssey: The Arcadian landscapes and tribal goat keepers of Mayurbhanj, 9 May 2016.

Read more about ILRI’s work in Odisha:
Goat business is big business in India’s Odisha State—Bishnupada Sethi, 23 Feb 2016.
Indian farmers in Odisha, on the Bay of Bengal, face fodder crisis: Using crop ‘wastes’ as feed is one solution, 28 Aug 2015

Note:
On 8 Mar 2016, ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith, his wife Charmaine Smith, ILRI Representative in South Asia Alok Jha, and ILRI research project leader Braja Swain paid courtesy calls on senior government and university officials in Bhubaneswar, the capital of India’s eastern state of Odisha. The ILRI delegation met with the Chief Secretary, AP Padhi, and the Secretary for Odisha’s Fisheries and Animal Resources Development (F&ARD) Department, Bishnupada Sethi, to discuss the state of the livestock sector in Odisha and contributions ILRI could make in improving the lives of farmers dependent on livestock.

ILRI has recently submitted a proposal on ‘Feed and Fodder Production in Different Agro-climatic Zones and Utilization for Livestock of Odisha’ to F&ARD’s Directorate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (DAH&VS).

ILRI has been working in Odisha since 2013 in collaboration with Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), the Orissa State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation (OMFED) and the state government’s DAH&VS and F&ARD to improve the state’s livestock productivity through better use of crop residues and locally sourced feed supplements within the framework of the CGIAR Cereal Systems Initiatives for South Asia (CSISA).

An international workshop on Improving Livestock Feeding Practice and Enhancement of Feed and Fodder Availability in Odisha was organized jointly by the Society for Management of Information, Learning and Extension (SMILE) and ILRI in 2015.

Based on the workshop’s recommendations, Odisha’s F&ARD Department is recommending the preparation of a comprehensive fodder development plan for Odisha.

Read more about ILRI work in India and work in India conducted by the ILRI-led multi-institutional CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, which works to improve the livelihoods of India’s smallholder dairy farmers by increasing participation of poor producers, processors and sellers in the country’s dairy value chains, improving access to markets by poor dairy producers and training small-scale dairy producers in more efficient production methods.

View all the photographs taken in Odisha in this ILRI Flickr album.

Learn more about the ILRI–CSISA project.

Read more about ILRI work in India and work in India conducted by the ILRI-led multi-institutional CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, which works to improve the livelihoods of India’s smallholder dairy farmers by increasing participation of poor producers, processors and sellers in the country’s dairy value chains, improving access to markets by poor dairy producers and training small-scale dairy producers in more efficient production methods.

ILRI scientist Braja Swain led the ILRI livestock work for the CSISA project in Odisha. Pradeep Sahoo, an agricultural economist and university lecturer from Odisha, spent two years working on the ILRI–CSISA project in this state. Jules Mateo (based in Manila) and Susan MacMillan (Nairobi) are part of ILRI’s Communications and Knowledge Management team.

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