Market challenges for fresh milk in Nagapattinam

Last month, Maria van der Heijden, co-founder of Women on Wings, and Nitya Ghotge, animal management consultant, worked with the team of NAMPCO on its business model, including the processing of milk and marketing . The dairy cooperative established 39 milk collectives with 1,800 female members in the district of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. The next phase is to organize and manage the whole value chain including processing the milk into added value product s and marketing.

Taking care of four cows
Last year, Nagapattinam suffered from Foot and Mouth Disease . This was the reason for NAMPCO to request support from Women on Wings for assessing the animal management practices in the villages. Nitya Ghotge, a veterinarian with over 25 years of professional experience, brought in her practical knowledge of cows, housing, hygiene, feeding, dairy production, grazing, farm animals and family issues. Nitya: “On average women in the Nagapattinam district have a high level of knowledge on issues. Historically, most Indian families own a cow. However, for a monthly income of 2,000 INR, they would need four cows. Taking care of four cows takes a woman 5 to 6 hours per day. Since the cows are around the house, women can combine the feeding and the milking with other household activities.”

Processing and sales
For two days, the NAMPCO team and Women on Wings worked on practical solutions for two of NAMPCO’s main challenges:
• increasing the quality of the processing unit
• sales.
For a product like fresh milk, the customer is around the corner. In Nagapattinam district, there are towns with 5,000 inhabitants and only 120 farmers. One of the opportunities is to sell milk and related products like yoghurt, ghee and peda to customers in these towns. Another useful product of cows is manure, used for cow dung cakes (energy source for cooking/heating) and small scale biogaz units.