A thriving all-female dairy business in economically backward Bundelkhand

Women in the arid landscape of the Bundelkhand region are moving towards self-sufficiency through milk production managed by a well-structured women’s self-help group that has over 40,000 female members.

These women are partners of Balinee Milk Producer Company Limited and have made great strides since the company was established in 2019.

The all-female initiative in the economically backward region of Bundelkhand has drawn praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The company, which was started by Adityanth, has members spread across six districts in the Bundelkhand region.

During a virtual program based on the theme “Aatmanirbhar Nari Shakti” last year, Modi hailed the initiative.

Adityanath appreciated the successful experience at Jhansi while addressing a special session of the state assembly on September 22.

Launched by Uma Kanti Pal, who mobilized village women, the initiative has helped thousands of women in the region to stand up.

The women members take care of milk production, collection and safe transportation to processing centers. They are paid on a weekly basis for their work.

At dawn, the centers could be seen buzzing with activity as women members went there one after another with their pots full of milk.

The income has helped rural women to contribute to the management of their families and to provide a better education for their children.

The Managing Director (CEO) of Balinee Milk Producer Company Limited, OP Singh, said, “We collect over 1.35 lakh liters of milk every day from over 40,000 female members across six districts in Bundelkhand region, including Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Mahoba, Banda and Hamirpur”.

“Over 7,000 additional female members will soon join us, which we hope will help increase our capacity to 2,000 liters of milk per day.”

The women members became the shareholders of the company.

Currently, the company has 703 milk collection centers in 795 villages in six districts.

The collection centers are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to determine the quality of the milk.

The collected milk is sold in the town of Jhansi and is also sent to other milk processing companies located in neighboring states.

To facilitate payment and empower its female members, the company also helped them connect to the banking system.

“We have also signed a memorandum of understanding with various banks so that our members can easily obtain loans from the bank to purchase livestock. We are also working to ensure that our members’ dairy cattle are insured,” Singh said. .

The income has helped women members improve their status and quality of life.

Asha Devi, a member of the group, said that when she joined the business she only had one cattle but with the help of the income she now owns three cattle.

“I have three buffaloes that produce around 20 liters of milk, which I drop off at the collection centre. The company pays me Rs 55 per liter and the payments are always made on time,” she said.

“I have admitted my children to a better school and am able to save money for the future,” she added.

Another member Pavitra Devi from Babina area said: “During the last three years I have increased the number of cattle from two to 11. The cattle give about 40 liters of milk per day which I submit to the center of collection”. Pavitra Devi added that her family was able to build a new cattle shed with the money she earned.

The company also helps its members to buy livestock.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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