Book author establishes integrated dairy farm in naxal belt to empower youth
“Nation’s growth lies in developing smart cities along with smart villages. To do so we have to tap the energy of our 40 crore youth living in the villages. We need to identify the USP of our villages, start the projects in alliance with the USP, employ the youth, train them and turn the villages into smart villages. To make this model functional we started a dairy farm inside Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, Jharkhand in 2015 with the aim to bring a positive change in the lives of the tribal youth living in the surrounding areas,” says Mr. Santosh Sharma, founder, M’ma Dairy Farm.
Speaking about the drive to start M’ma Dairy Farm, Mr. Sharma says, “I was in a meeting with our Late Ex-President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam at his residence in New Delhi discussing how to bring into existence the idea mentioned in my authored book ‘Dissolve the Box’. The idea is to engage the youth of the country living in Bharat precisely in rural areas. We identified few projects that could match the existing skill sets of the youth such as dairy, agri-tourism and horticulture etc. The meeting was memorable, the aura of humble Dr. Kalam stayed with me with the determination to start some project in village soon and finally I started the farm in Dalma village. I decided to work with tribal youth of Dalma village, Jharkhand because the region is affected by naxalites thus the job opportunities for these young people are very less.” Slowly the operations were diversified to horticulture and now extending to agri-tourism with the focus on employing many more youth.
M’ma Dairy Farm was set up with the capital investment of Rs. 80 lakh. The milk produced in the farm reaches the customer’s home without any direct touch of human being. The entire facility from milk parlours to processing till packaging is mechanized. The farm is home to 100 HF (Holstein Friesian) cows and 10 gir cows that yield 1000 litre milk/day and 80 litre/day respectively. With no preservative added the milk is supplied in raw form packaged in one litre glass bottle twice in day at the customer door steps within 2-3 hours from milking. All 1000 customers are residents of Jamshedpur city, 30 km far from the farm. Milk of HF cows is sold at Rs. 50-50/litre while the milk of Gir cows is sold at Rs. 70-80/litre.
The total area of the farm is 68 acre having dairy farm only in 5 acre while rest of the area is used for horticulture such as growing seasonal vegetables, grains, paddy etc. Even the milk is processed into paneer, ghee, butter milk, curd and fresh cream. All these products are sold to same customer network who are informed about the product availability, prices and delivery schedules through the WhatsApp group.
The cows are fed with organic fodder and concentrate produced in-house. The fodder comprises of five types of greens namely maize, azolla, napier, nutrifeed and barseem. All these greens fulfill the nutrient requirement of the cows. Every day each cow is fed with 12 kg green fodder while milking cows are fed with concentrate too. Mustard de-oiled cake, maize, gram etc are the ingredients mixed together to make the concentrate.
There is full time resident veterinarian who ensures the cows’ health is at its best. According to Mr. Sharma, “Understanding the cycle of the cows is the most challenging part in running a dairy farm. It is mandatory to keep the cows happy because if cows are happy then the milk quality is superior. So we take a good care of our cows always like they are always left to roam around freely in the shed, 24/7 access to clean drinking water etc,” he affirms.
Mr. Sharma finds Gir cows superior than HF cows. In his words, “Gir cows have good health all round the year and seldom fall sick. Also it adjusts to extreme temperatures very well. We do not spend much of time and money for health management on gir cows as compared to HFs.”
Tribal youth belonging to the farm vicinity manage all the operations at the farm with 100% proficiency. The farm is also referred as Integrated Learning Institute where the youth are trained meticulously in all the departments including interpersonal relations and marketing. In addition their performance is observed and if they have the talent, “We send them for training to upgrade their skills,” he shares.
In future Mr. Sharma wants to set up hospitals and schools in the villages surrounding M’ma Dairy Farm to give a prospective life to the next generation. He wears many hats as in an entrepreneur, author and guest lecturer at IIMs. “Through this farm we are not limiting ourselves only on cultivating crops but we are cultivating new thoughts that shall be instrumental in bringing a positive change in the socio-economic state of the village because ultimately with this model I want to create smart villages across the country with enormous attention on youth development and growth,” he signs off.
M’ma Dairy Farm
H.No 8, Road No. 3, Zone No. 4, VIP Colony, Birsanagar, Jamshedpur- 831019, Jharkhand.