“Our cattle and goats are our ATMs” – Denmark govt to support farmers
Babytai Wagh is a farmer from Malegaon village in the Vidarbha region. He lives in the Washim district, which has a lot of droughts. For the last ten years, she has been able to get through all the agrarian crises and face life with courage, thanks to her ‘ATM.’
Her husband, Mukund, killed himself in 2012 because he couldn’t pay his debts because his crops kept failing. Babytai took care of the family, got her kids an education, and set them up in their lives.
This is due to the ATM. Our cattle are called ATMs. In my case, raising goats and making cheese has helped me get through all the hard times. She says, ‘My goats are my ATM.’
Dairy isn’t as important as farming, but it could give rural families more money and jobs. Experts say it has helped cut down on farmer suicides.
‘The dairy industry is a big reason why there aren’t as many farmer suicides in western Maharashtra. Nearly every area in the western part of the country has a well-established dairy business. ‘Farmers can get by on milk income if crops fail or if it rains or dries out at odd times,’ says Kolhapur farmer Vishwas Patil.
He said that cattle are like an ATM for farmers because they can make money from milk and also sell them when they need money. This is seen as a better option than having farmers borrow money from private lenders when times are tough.
Denmark government support
Based on what dairy farmers have said, the State government now wants to grow the dairy industry with help from the government of Denmark. Freddy Svane, who works for the Royal Danish Embassy in India, said that Denmark will set up a Centre of Excellence in Dairy in the state of Maharashtra.
He said that he had talked about this with Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who is the Minister of Animal Husbandry for the state of Maharashtra. On Tuesday, the ambassador met with Gov. Bhagat Singh Koshyari of Maharashtra at Raj Bhavan. Over 13,235 co-operative dairy societies and 79 co-operative dairy unions are in the State.
‘Denmark is one of the top countries in the milk business. ‘Experts from Denmark will help the dairy business in the state, and farmers will be able to make more money,’ said Vikhe Patil to the Copenhagen delegation.
Making the ‘ATM’ stronger
The State government has already started working with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) on a special project to increase milk production in 11 districts of the Vidarbha and Marathawada regions, which are known for having problems with agriculture.
This project includes a fodder development programme, the supply of quality cattle feed, the supply of cattle feed supplements (mineral mixture), and veterinary services like home-based artificial insemination (AI), vaccinations, the removal of ticks and flies, and treatment for infertility.
In the State, the government and cooperative dairies collected an average of 0.5 lakh litres and 40.43 lakh litres of milk every day in 2020-21 and 0.39 lakh litres and 41.74 lakh litres up to November 2021-22, respectively.