March 19-27: Dairy Post-Production Research for Development continues to play a pivotal role to address liquid milk marketing constraints, so that farmers will continue to reap greater benefits from dairy farming. Hence, after successful training of farmers in Mongar, Samtse, Punakha among others, the technical team from National Dairy Research Centre (NDRC), Yusipang headed to East Central Region (Sarpang and Zhemgang) to train dairy farmers group members on dairy products processing and product diversification. It was conducted with the financial support from the Rural Livelihood Project (RLP), Zhemgang.
Resource persons conducted hands on training for the members of the Lothuen Om Detshen, Sarpang for the production of yogurt, paneer, cottage cheese and ghee. They were also trained on the hygienic milk production as well as platform milk tests to inspect the quality of milk delivered to the milk processing unit (MPU).
The Department of Livestock and RLP jointly funded the establishment of a yogurt plant for the dairy groups of Sarpang which is expected to be operational towards the end of the year. This yogurt plant will address the marketing constraint faced with excess milk produced during the summer months by diversification into yogurt. NDRC promotes the establishment of yogurt plants and provides the required training and technical knowhow as the adoption of technology for yogurt production is relatively simple and is suitable for the current quality of milk produced in the country.
Following the training in Sarpang, the team proceeded to train dairy groups in Panbang, Buli and Trong, Zhemgang. The Panbang Dairy Cooperative was established by a group of ex-army personnel and currently collects approximately 15-20 litres of milk per day with the summer collection increasing to 50 -60 litres/day. The group comprises of 16 members, processing milk collected into butter and cheese. They were trained on the hygienic production of milk and platform milk tests to ensure the quality of milk collected by the MPU. They were provided with hands on practical training on the production of yogurt, paneer and cottage cheese as a means for diversification of products. The MPU was fully equipped with all required equipment for the production of yogurt, paneer and cottage cheese and as such the MPU can start with production of the diversified products as and when collection of milk increases.
However, the group members expressed that members do not own any cows for the supply of milk and that they are currently procuring milk from other dairy farmers in the area who are not members of the group. They expressed that for the control of milk quality and long term sustainability of the group, members will have to procure cows. They stated that along with the Dzongkhag Livestock Sector, the members have applied for loan from the REDCL but they have not yet received the loan.
The team further trained farmers of Buli Namsay Gonor Nyamlyan Tshogdey. The group is comprised of 33 members and initiated the collection of milk from the training day. They were trained on hygienic milk production and platform milk tests. They also learned the operation of dairy equipment such as the cream separator and the electric vat that was available in the MPU. Training on product diversification of milk into yogurt, paneer and cottage cheese was also provided to them.
The team then proceeded to train the Trong Dangkhar Chuiten Tshogpa, the oldest dairy group in Zhemgang which was established in 2011. They have a total of 38 members supplying approximately 60 litres/day during the winter and 150- 200 litres/day during the summer.
Members were trained on the hygienic production of milk and platform milk tests as well as diversification of products into yogurt, paneer and cottage cheese. The group currently produces butter and cheese but faces marketing constraints during the summer season with the increase in milk production. The group intends to diversify into the production of yogurt to address the constraint faced.
This effort of technical team of NDRC to train dairy farmers is to reach Dairy Post- Production Technologies far and wide so that dairy farming venture continues to bring higher returns to rural communities.
Submitted by Dairy Post Production Research Sector, NDRC, Yusipang
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