Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma said that Meghalaya can play a pivotal role to fill up the gap in the supply of organic milk to other states and even neighbouring countries.
Conrad, who inaugurated the Directorate of Dairy Development and Meghalaya Milk Processing Centre at Mawlai Mawïong on Monday, told a gathering that almost all states in the Northeast are deficient in milk production.
Deputy chief minister, Prestone Tynsong, and other dignitaries were present at the function which included Mawlai MLA, P T Sawkmie, Umroi MLA, George B Lyngdoh, North Shillong MLA, Adelbert Nongrum, Mawlai MDC, Teiborlang Pathaw, students and officials who came from different parts of the State.
He said that the opening of the directorate and the milk processing centre would give milk production in the State a much needed boost and termed it as a massive revolution in the dairy sector.
The chief minister was optimistic that the functioning of the new unit would help in meeting the present demands of milk consumption in the State which currently stands at about 2,00,000 metric tons annually and securing the nutritional needs of children.
“There is a huge demand for organic milk. Meghalaya can play a pivotal role to fill up the gap in the supply of organic milk to other states and even neighbouring countries. This is a huge economic opportunity for our State and our farmers,” he said.
The chief minister also informed that the operation of the milk processing unit will be handed over to the East Khasi Hills District Milk Cooperative Union shortly.
The deputy chief minister, Prestone Tynsong acknowledged the important role of cooperatives in the milk production sector and urged them to work with commitment as they are a source of providing employment opportunities to thousands of people in both the urban and rural areas of the State.
Additional chief secretary who is also the Agriculture Production Commissioner, K N Kumar said that India was the largest producer of milk in the entire world which accounted for 16 per cent of the total global production.
He informed that the per capita supply of milk per day in Meghalaya was 83 grams which was very low as compared to the national average of 315 gm per capita.
“There is a shortage of about 1.65 lakh metric tonnes and there is an urgent need to triple the production to meet the current demand necessitated by the increase in purchasing power and lifestyle changes of the people,” he added.
Stating that cattle reared in the State is primarily for meat and only 40 per cent accounted for milk production he underlined the need for extra investment in the sector and provide the necessary training to equip the farmers with the necessary skill set to rear high yielding cross bred variety of cattle to increase milk production.
He also informed that there were only three dairy processing units in the State and more processing units would be required to meet the increase in processing, necessitated by the increase in milk production by the farmers.