Nabard’s low-key financing scheme helps farmers reap a rich harvest

A low-key financing scheme with a few innovations thrown in is driving big changes in the lives of several rural dairy farmers.

One of the beneficiaries, Poongudi from Andayarpalayam, Thirubuvanai, is a happy woman.

Her milch cows are healthier and milk production has improved in quantity and quality.

“The cows do not fall ill often now. I have 10 cows and the daily production has increased by almost 500 ml,” she says.

Poongudi is a beneficiary of the sustainable dairy farming project undertaken under the Rural Innovation Fund by Nabard with NGO Ekoventure.

The one-year project which was completed in March this year covered 12 villages and 331 beneficiaries in Puducherry.

The project makes use of Indigenous Micro-organism (IMO) technology in cattle feed.

“The main benefit of using IMO is that it improves immunity and health of the cattle. It improves the quantity and quality of milk with an increase in fat content from 4 per cent to around 4.5 per cent per litre,” says S. Manimaran, coordinator at Ekoventure.

The IMO feed is prepared from ingredients like raw rice, organic jaggery, ginger and garlic juice, which is kept in an anaerobic condition. The lactic acid bacteria mixture in the feed improves digestion and as the IMO feed is given as an additional supplement, the overall cost in cattle feed is reduced.

The project has improved yield, reduced cost and increased income.

This is what Nabard aims for, says Sreepathy Kalkura, who served as assistant general manager at Nabard in Puducherry till recently.

“Nabard provided the financial assistance of around Rs. 3.3 lakh for capacity building and procuring ingredients. As the project has now been completed successfully and a documentation of the process is ongoing, it could be implemented on a larger scale across the country. We have also suggested that some farmers take up production of IMO; so they can continue to provide it for their cattle,” he said.

“It is a simple and good method to improve productivity,” says R. Chandrapurani, facilitator with Ekoventure.

K. Ponnusamy of the Andayarpalayam milk producers’ cooperative society vouches for the improvement in quantity and quality.

“The members who have been using IMO have been getting a better price because the fat content is higher in the milk,” he says.

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