All-women dairy co-op opens in Maharashtra

Maval Dairy Farmer Services Producer Company has 1,200 farmer members and produces 6,000 litres of milk a day

The first all-women dairy co-op has opened in Maharashtra, a state in western India, backed by multinational giant Tata.

Maval Dairy Farmer Services Producer Company will sell products – including milk, paneer, cream and buttermilk – under the brand name Creyo in Mumbai and Pune, and customers with a 60km area can also order products through a mobile app.

The co-op has 1,200 women farmer members, providing 6,000 litres of milk a day to 15 collection centres which cover 26 villages.

It is hoped production will be expanded to 50,000 litres a day, with a wider range of products on offer.

Work to set up the co-op began several years ago when Tata officials met with women farmers to discuss ways to help them organise. In partnership with management consultants ALC India – which works to improve  livelihoods in economically marginalised communities – potential members were given training in clean milk production, animal management, governance, soft skills and enterprise building, as well as financial support.

“Today is the day we waited each day for the last four years,” said Maval’s vice chair Radhatai Jagtap, at the official opening of the co-op.

“In this dairy, the real heroes are the women who adopted the co-operative route to chart their own destinies,” added Tata Power chief executive and managing director Praveer Sinha.

“Traditionally, the dairy co-operatives have been male-dominated, with the role of women being restricted to care-providers, feeding and milking the animals. But, today there is a progressive change.”

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