Aiming proper involvement of Kutch Farmers into mainstream of cooperative setups, Sarhad Dairy is going to plant a fruit processing facility in Gujarat at cost of Rs 50 crore. Valamji Humbal, chairman, Sarhad Dairy, who is also the VC of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF), the dairy federation known for the brand Amul, said, “The farmers in the area grow horticulture crops like pomegranates, dates and mango. The absence of market linkages and a local value addition chain has badly affected their farming. Therefore, at the annual general meeting of Sarhad Dairy, the board of directors of the dairy, have decided, in principle, to set up a fruit processing plant in Kutch. Our estimate is that such a plant for extracting juices, preparing frozen and dehydrated fruit products will cost around Rs 50 crore.” Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parsottam Rupala; Minister of State for Tourism and Welfare of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Vasan Ahir; and GCMMF MD R S Sodhi were also present at the dairy’s AGM in Anjar. Chariman, Sarhad Dairy announced that we were in loop with many stakeholders to put the fruit processing plant at its most appropriate place. “We have been consulting with marketing and technology experts as well as officers of GCMMF for setting up this plant. We are of the belief that such a plant is economically viable and will be in the long run improving farmers. We have land at Chandrani village in Anjar taluka of Kutch for such a plant,” said Humbal. “But another view is that since processed fruit products of Kutch have the potential of finding an overseas market, such a plant should be set up in Mundra so that port connectivity becomes easy. While Sarhad Dairy will manufacture products, GCMMF will market them,” he added. Sarhad Dairy, originally Kutch District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited, currently a member of GCMMF, took its hold in 2009 after a long brainstorm and conceptualization and now it has 650+ cooperative societies deputed in the area to milk around 4 lakh litres of milk in a day. It has also good reputation in selling high quality camel milk. Area has developed as Horticulture belt, after the discovery of ample amount of groundwater. While explaining the proposal, Humbal said, “The Centre has allotted Rs 24 crore for the milk processing plant under its Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and the GCMMF is to give Rs 20 crore grant towards loan interest subvention. Our plan is to relocate our existing milk processing plant in Lakhond to Chandrani later so that revenue expenditure occurring on account of staff, etc can be reduced.” Apart from this, Sarhad Dairy is also planning to setup new milk processing plant at Chandrani Village worth Rs. 100 crore with capacity of processing 2 lakh litres of milk a day.

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