Demand for organic milk is gradually rising in Pilibhit and neighbouring districts. After studies have revealed that consumption of milk contaminated with oxytocin can lead to early onset of puberty among children, parents are increasingly opting for organic milk which is much safer.
Though oxytocin injection for cattle is banned, it is still commonly used by dairy owners. Currently there are 15 dairy farms in Pilibhit district which are producing chemical-free milk. Herbal medicines are used in curing any illness of the cattle, which means no antibiotics are used and fodder given to the cattle is pesticide-free. So the quality of the milk is exceptional.
However, the milk cannot be given a tag of ‘organic’ unless the certification is granted. Most of the dairy farms are quite new and are not much concerned about certification because the milk is being sold at a price equivalent to normal milk and they are not marketing it as organic, even though the owners follow all the guidelines meant for production of organic milk.
These farm owners have imported Holstein Friesian (HF) cattle from Haryana. It is a Dutch breed better known as the world’s highest-production dairy animal. An average HF cow gives 10,000-12,000 litres of milk in a 10-month lactation cycle, whereas the yields from a desi cow are only 3,000-3,600 litres. An HF calf takes only two years to mature and start producing milk, while the same is three years for indigenous breeds like Sahiwal. Also the fat content is approximately 4-4.5%, almost equivalent to Indian breeds.
“I have visited a few farms in the recent past and most are run by veterinarians. The fodder used by them was free from pesticides and it was satisfying that milk of extremely good quality is produced here,” said Mahendra Pratap Singh, food security officer of Pilibhit district, about his observation of these dairy farms.
“We have an eco-friendly unit where we treat the animals with herbal medicines. HF cattle yield a very good quantity of milk which is better in taste than the milk containing oxytocin. Also the cowdung is used in gobar gas plant, which is an additional benefit to us,” said Santosh Gangwar, owner of a dairy farm in Lalorikhera block.
“The taste of this milk is better than normal buffalo milk and the paneer made from it is extremely good in taste. Demand for paneer items have seen a drastic rise. However, the fat content of the milk is low compared to buffalo milk,” said Sushil Jaiswal, a restaurant owner in Pilibhit about his experience with HF cattle milk. The milk from dairy farms is sold to Parag and other milk packaging units in UP and Uttarakhand.