BANEPA, March 23: After becoming self-sufficient in dairy products, dairy stakeholders of Kavre have said that they would now focus on improving quality of milk produced in the district.
“We have been organizing various awareness campaign to improve quality of milk right after the district was declared self-sufficient in milk products on July 29 last year,” Narayan Bahadur Shrestha, chief of District Livestock Services Office, told Republica.
Shrestha also said that the office has been distributing apron, cap, gloves, pipette and lactometer, among others, to staff members of milk collection centers as part of its campaign to improve milk quality. The office is also planning to provide similar signboard to every milk collection centre in the district.
“In the first phase, we will be helping 45 collection centers,” he said, adding: “Use of cap will prevent hair from falling in the milk. Other equipment and materials will help to improve quality of milk sourced from different collection centers.”
The office is also replacing plastic drums and buckets used to store milk. “We will provide a grant of Rs 50,000 to collections for buying stainless steel tank of 700-liter capacity. Milk stored in still tanks is of high quality compared to milk stored plastic tanks,” said Shrestha. He further added that the office was studying the feasibility of collecting milk from farmers twice a day.
Chaturbhuj Timilsina, president of Setidevi Dairy Producers Users Cooperative situated in Rabi Opi VDC, said that the cooperative group has started collecting milk twice a day as a trial. “Milk quality declines due to various reasons if it is not stored in chilling equipment. We have necessary equipment like chilling vat and steel tank to keep the milk chilled,” Timilsina said.
The group has been collecting nearly 4,000 liters of milk on a daily basis.
According to Timilsina, collection of milk in the evening has increased the cooperative’s expenses by Rs 4 per liter.
Even privately-owned chilling centers have procured better equipment to improve quality of milk. Rabindra Humagain, the owner of Kushadevi-based Himalayan Milk Chilling Center, said has installed milk pasteurization unit at his chilling center. He uses insulated stainless steel tank to transport milk to Kathmandu.
Many dairy producers of Kavre have been using quality packaging and labeling before sending their products to market. Raghu Nath Ghimire, the promoter of Banepa-based Sarba Hitaishi Dairy Factory, said privately owned dairy producers were ready to join hands with the livestock services office to raise awareness among dairy farmers regarding quality of milk.
The district has been collecting 300,000 liters milk on a daily basis through 400 collection centers. According to the livestock services office, the district produced 120,000 tons of milk in Fiscal Year 2015/16.