What are the items that would fetch perennial demands? This is the typical question some people would ask while gossiping. What about the milk? This is the item; people of all age groups would declare as their requirement next to staple items.
What is the availability of milk in Tripura? Town dwellers will hesitantly reply it is manageable and rural folk would invariably reply, they hardly remember milk as an item they find in their menu.
A resident of Agartala is accessible to skimmed milk in the packaged form and other powdered milk of the brand like Britania, Everyday and Amul etc and other milk products.
Whereas, villagers of 100miles away from capital is not accessible to skimmed milk except some processed milk products that could be found in the area adjacent to the block, sub-divisional head quarters or any busy business places. This is because milk has become a rare item now-a-days in rural areas.
Why there is such rarity of milk in the state? Of course, reason may be many but first and foremost is the decline in milch cow and over all livestock population in the state which directly impacted on milk production.
Of course, this not an empirical data however, it is the fact that in almost all parts of Tripura rearing of milch cow has declined drastically. In earlier days; places like Mirza, Tulamura, Rani of Kakrabon R.D. Block would foster lots of milch cow for their family needs and also side income through selling their milk to the nearest sweet shops but now the picture is completely different. The picture should not be opposite in other parts of the state too.
What happened in olden days is; agriculture was fully depending on drought animal for farm operation, even non-farming population would also keeps milch cow for meeting the needs of milk but with the passage of time dependence on animal for farm operation has reduced drastically due to problem of drought animals and non-farming population also backtracked from rearing of milch cow due to lack of fodder in the area.
Now, in almost all places leaving behind some areas, there is new trends for farm operation and farm operation like ploughing or tilling of lands are mostly carried out with the help of power tiller due to decline of livestock population which affected in decline of drought animals. This has had direct influence in milk production of the state.
In Tripura, although the Animal Resource Development Department has been constantly pursuing to increase and popularize the animal resources in the state but no remarkable achievement at least as far as milch cow is concerned could be observed in the state.
There was the trend in earlier days, farmers would go to the nearest animal sub-center or stockman sub-centre for artificial insemination of their local milch cow for obtaining good and high yielding breed of milch cow like Jersey but now-a-days this trend is not observed in the locality.
In Tripura, activities for milk production is not considerable, villagers are not inclined for any move for furtherance of milk production activities. The reason may be; they either do not know the prospects of milk and its economic and health benefits or they have no interest to go for milch cow rearing in the situation where there is no sufficient fodder to feed the milch cow.
Moreover, in Tripura, there are no major milk producing federations or society that would foster the growth of milk sector in the state. At present GOMTI which is at Agartala is the name synonymous for milk production and supply in the urban areas. In Tripura, there are only two milk co-operative societies one at Agartala that is GOMTI and another at Dharmanagar under North Tripura District.
The policy maker, civic society should come out and work in the direction to improve the situation for enhancing the milk production of the state otherwise, there would be skewed development of different sectors.
Skewed development of line department / sector will not give sustained development in over all sector of the state.
To improve the milk production of the state, the followings activities are must:-
• Encourage the farmers to rear milch cow in the state.
• Ensure the supply of good and high yielding breeds of Milch to the farmers in affordable rates.
• To go for community or cluster approach to implement the above
• Providing of stock man sub-centre in every cluster with the facility of animal treatment and artificial insemination facility.
• Identify suitable land for development of community Pasteur.
• Popularizing the fallow land for fodder cultivation.
• Arrangement of milk processing unit according to size of the cluster.
• Ensuring the supply of milk and milk products to the markets.
• A good binding force in the form of bye law to the cluster for running the cluster smoothly and profitably.
Agritangkol dated 09.12.2011 at 05.20 P.M