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Prabhat teams up with Abbott to foster dairy entrepreneurship

To facilitate budding entrepreneurs in rural dairy farming communities and bring about capacity building and socio-economic growth, Abbott Nutrition has teamed up with Prabhat Dairy, an integrated milk and dairy products company.

For close to six years, Prabhat Dairy has been supplying milk powder and milk to Abbott Nutrition. The US firm, which has nutrition products for people of all ages, decided to go to the grass roots in Maharashtra to meet the growing demand for high-quality milk powder for its paediatric and geriatric nutraceuticals.

Local sourcing
Elizabeth Riordan, Divisional Vice-President (Global Dairy Operations), Abbott Nutrition, said the firm decided to share its modern dairy, engineering, nutrition and business expertise with Prabhat to create new systems for dairy in Maharashtra.

“We opened a plant here in 2014 for nutritional business, and now source almost 80 per cent of our milk from here,” she told reporters at Shrirampur, Ahmednagar. The company sources 3,000 tonnes of milk from the region, more than half from Prabhat Dairy.

“India is the largest milk market. Our biggest opportunity is to continue development of quality sources of milk here,” she added. The duo launched Nirmal Dhara dairy development project to create stronger farming communities. Some 350 farmer households have participated since its inception in March.

Bulk coolers
Abbott made an extensive survey of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra, and located 10 villages where bulk milk coolers of 2,000 litres each would be installed. The bulk coolers are meant to be an initial road map for local entrepreneurs to ensure good hygiene practices and transparent milk procurement systems.

The new milk collection centres in five villages allow farmers to sell milk, in their own communities. Through ongoing training, incentive and improved infrastructure, the Nirmal Dhara programme aims to empower dairy farmers to increase both the quantity and quality of their milk.

Vivek Nirmal, Joint Managing Director of Prabhat Dairy said around 250 villages were screened before participation in the programme.

“It is not just a clean-milk project. We tried to identify costs involved, and how to bring down production costs,” he said.

The US company said its nutrition business needed a sustainable approach to securing quality milk in India, and the programme provided an opportunity to tackle complex social and economic barriers.