Story by Anjani Kumar Harsh | Program Officer | Prabahran Rajarathinam | Program Coordinator | Heifer India
Photos by Anjani Kumar Harsh
Rampur is a small farming village supported by Heifer India that is comprised mostly of landless farmers who depend on daily labor for their survival. Heifer India, with co-funding from Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) is implementing its project through partnering with a local NGO called GPVS. Heifer’s focus there is to build strong social capital through various trainings and to support families with dairy animals. The project is reaching women’s groups and farmers clubs.
Both the farmer and women’s groups are actively saving and progressing through the project. The total savings of the four women’s groups in the project is $326 and the two farmers clubs have $173 in savings. So far, 33 water buffalo and 24 cows have been distributed to project families. The animals provide nutrition and income through their milk. Everyday around 272 liters of milk are produced for these families to sell to the Sudha Dairy milk collection center in the village.
The project’s official title is “Promoting Socio-Economic Transformation of Marginalized Communities through Agriculture and Livestock Management in Madhubani” and has brought a great change and a profitable connection to the state government-owned dairy and the Bihar state milk co-operative federation, Sudha Dairy. This project is connecting Heifer farmers to markets.
There are daily milk collections taking place at the village milk collection center. Convincing certain community leaders to start cooperatives was no easy feat. Regular meetings with the officers and a visit to the Heifer field served as a turning point as they interacted with group members and witnessed how the project had positively impacted lives. Encouraged and motivated by all these things happening in this community, officials finally promised a milk collection point in the remote Rampur village. On September 11th, the Rampur Milk Cooperative was introduced.
On opening day, 80 members joined the committee and 187 liters of milk was collected at the center. Daily milk collection at the center can reach up to 280 liters and committee members are now earning 40 cents per liter of cow milk and 48 cents per liter of buffalo milk. The dairy center will also support the community through additional fodder, medicine and training on improved animal management practices.
This is only the beginning of this project’s success, there is a long way to go as we work to improve and create a socially and economically resilient community.