Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 7:
Dairy farming is an important source of income for more than 50 lakh rural families in Odisha and provides employment and income generating opportunities for the vulnerable sections of our population, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik observed today while inaugurating a workshop on “Women Empowerment through Dairying” here.
“Income from dairy farming gives some measures of economic independence to our rural women”, he said.
Addressing the workshop, Patnaik said women can be empowered through education, skill development and entrepreneurship programmes. Skill development of women on better dairy practices, cattle care and treatment including personal health & hygiene can have a marked impact on their livelihood. They should be imparted with leadership, entrepreneurship and marketing skills to help them venture into wider and extensive economic activity.
While women can achieve economic and social independence through such enterprise, they can also face their social life with more confidence and on equal terms, he added.
He informed that the state government has taken several institutionalised initiatives to augment the production of milk along with employment generation in dairy sector, which includes dairy entrepreneurs development scheme, long term and short term interest subvention, Biju Krushak Vikas Yojana, Cattle Insurance and other on-field programmes.
Apart from this, the state is also implementing National Dairy Plan that envisages a boost for dairy sector in the future, he said.
Referring to the milk production in Odisha, the chief minister said the production has increased from 1.4 million tonnes per annum in 2006-07 to 1.78 million tonnes per annum in 2013-14 which has been due to sustained efforts to organise farmers into dairy cooperation.
Considering that nearly 80 percent of milk in the state is produced by small holders, cooperatives have been instrumental in boosting their income. Under the state agriculture policy, women entrepreneurs are provided with 50 percent capital investment subsidy for dairy farming. Under operation Flood-II programme, OMFED organised women dairy cooperatives having all women members and they successfully managed the cooperatives. By June this year, more than 800 women cooperatives are functioning with about 56,000 women members.
On an average, women cooperative societies are collecting more than 90,000 litres of milk per day while women farmers are getting about Rs 75 crore annually towards the cost of milk.
As the dairy cooperatives and the management committees are entirely composed of women members, it encourages women’s participation in managing the day to day activities of dairy cooperatives, the chief minister said.
Expressing happiness that the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) is going to set up a state-of-the-art regional semen station in Mayurbhanj district, Patnaik said the state government has provided 127 acre of land for this project.
This centre will cater to the requirement of Odisha and its neighbouring states, he added.
Observing that women’s empowerment is a larger issue that needs to be approached in its entirety, he said his government has put in place a progressive state policy for girls and women that provides a comprehensive and actionable framework for their overall development.
The key focus areas of this policy include education, livelihood, asset ownership, participation and political representation and many other pertinent factors essential for empowerment.
“We must harness the innovative capacity of our women to address the issue of development and empowerment, he said, and hoped that collaboration with NDDB would foster sustainable dairy development in Odisha.
Among others, Agriculture minister Pradip Maharathy, chief secretary GC Pati, NDDB chairman T Nandakumar also spoke on the occasion.
The workshop was attended by the delegates of women farmers from six states including Odisha.