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Padmasinha Ganpat Patil (31) gave up his senior salesman’s job at Kotak Mahindra in Mumbai to return to his native village Manegaon in Mhada taluka in Western Maharashtra to do dairy farming. Six months later, Patil is on cloud nine. Milk prices have gone up from Rs 18-20 per litre to Rs 25-26 per litre, promising higher profits.
In Mumbai, his last annual package was Rs 5.5 lakh.
On a sprawling one acre of land in front of his home, five cows wander around. Every two hours they return to their designated spot for fodder which is 35 to 40 kg per cow.
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A diploma holder from the agriculture college at Akluj taluka, Patil said, “The inspiration to return to dairy farming was from my maternal uncle Satyawan Baburao Ghadge (42), who wrote a success story with 25 high-grade ‘jersey’ cows in a short span of 18 months in Hingni village of Mohol taluka.”
According to Patil, “On an average each cow delivers 20 litres of milk. An average 70 litres of milk at Rs 26 per litre fetches Rs 1,820 daily. Other expenses include cost of transporting milk to collection centres and maintenance and fodder of the cows.
The family’s adjoining agriculture land spread over five to six acres helps to generate in-house fodder. Revealing that the glamour of Mumbai’s life does not hold any appeal to him compared to the rural roots, he said, “In any job in the city we had to work almost 10 to 12 hours which was very stressful as targets had to be met. Moreover, office and house were located at two ends making travel cumbersome and expensive.
Whereas, life in village with half the efforts and proper planning promises higher returns. It easily surpasses the annual package of Rs 5.5 lakh I used to earn. Moreover, unlike in the city, the cost of living is much lower providing both quality life and huge savings.”
In the last seven years in Mumbai, beginning with a BPO call centre, he hopped jobs as sales manager in Idea Cellular, Future India, General Life Insurance and Kotak Mahindra.
“I am planning to purchase six more cows. And then intend to put up a small chilling plant, which would be able to hold 2,500 litres of milk. It can be graduated to processing unit in coming years.”
At village Hingni, Satyawan Baburao Ghadge has a bigger success story. The seventh passed Satyawan (42), tired of crop failure for four successive years, decided to take to dairy development. Three years ago, he started with a couple of cows. Today, with a loan from Bank of India, he has 25 “jersey” cows in his huge shed pitched on his agriculture land adjoining the sugarcane fields.
Satyawan and his younger brother Abhimanyu took Rs 8 lakh each loan from Bank of India to buy the cows. They are mostly brought from Sangola market at Rs 70,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh depending on age and grade. Satyawan personally tends to each cow, almost with a set timetable of when and how much fodder and water should be provided.
According to Satyawan, “On an average, we generate 250 to 275 litres of milk. It is transported to Mohol dock where milk cooperative societies purchase it at Rs 26 to Rs 27 per litre.” The farmers revealed, “In the last six to eight months there have been stringent measures taken by the administration to streamline the corruption and adulteration. As a result, farmers are getting better price.”
Satyawan said, “In the past, middle agents in nexus with milk cooperative owners (including private) exploited the dairy farmers. Citing surplus milk collection they would create a situation where we had to sell the milk at as low as Rs 15 to 17 per litre. “In front of our eyes, agents would manipulate and resell the same milk in markets at Rs 40 per litre which would be then sent for distribution to other urban cities and towns. The milk quantity would be often increased by adding water and also chemical, which is detrimental to health.
While advocating harsh punishment for those cheating people and farmers, he said, “Even a small and marginal farmer with just two cows can survive drought and crop losses if those running the milk cooperatives stop exploiting and manipulating the farmers.”
According to a NABARD report, “The per capita availability of milk is 210 grams for the state as a whole and offers vast scope for increasing milk production to reach the ideal level of 250 grams per person per day. The cooperative dairy infrastructure comprises 29 district milk unions, 77 taluka sanghs and 30714 primary dairy cooperative societies.”