The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) will manage the operations of the local dairy federation Ladakh Milk Federation for five years in order to implement a structured dairy development programme in Ladakh region.
NDDB has inked a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Union Territory of Ladakh and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) under which the entire operations of Ladakh Milk Federation will be handed over to NDDB.
During the five-year period, NDDB will provide its services without any management fees and depute its professional manpower at key managerial positions for managing the operations of the federation and its constituent units.
At the MoU signing ceremony, Meenesh Shah, Chairman, NDDB, reiterated NDDB's focus on the regions where dairy sector is yet to be developed to significantly contribute to the livelihoods of the rural households. "NDDB would ensure that the operations of the federation and the constituent units are professionally managed with emphasis on providing fair and transparent operations to the dairy farmers," he said.
The MoU was signed in presence of Radha Krishna Mathur, Lt. Governor of UT Ladakh, and Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Member of Parliament from Ladakh.
Mathur said NDDB’s expertise would help in establishing a robust milk procurement and processing system in Ladakh and would also help in undertaking scientific productivity enhancement activities with focus on animal breeding, nutrition and health. "This MoU will encourage entrepreneurs to set up dairy farms leading to development of dairy sector in the region, which will also provide an avenue for employment for the rural youth and more milk production in the UT," he said.
Commenting on the development, Namgyal stated that focussed intervention for dairying in the region was long-awaited and signing of this MoU would surely help in bringing socio-economic development in Ladakh.
Besides dairy development, NDDB will also support the UT of Ladakh through its subsidiaries. IDMC, NDDB's wholly owned subsidiary, has completed the refurbishment and upgradation of the milk processing plant at Leh.
As per the 20th Livestock census, 2019 the Leh-Ladakh region has a total cattle population in excess of 35,000, including about 22,000 indigenous breeds and about 13,000 exotic breeds.
Ladakhi cattle are native to the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir. The native Ladakhi cattle are small-sized and short-statured black or brown coloured animals, well adapted to extreme cold climatic and hypoxic conditions. These cattle are reared under the extensive system for milk and manure purposes. The milk from the native cattle is considered a natural source of A2 milk.
The ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources noted that the milk yield of the native Ladakhi cattle is around 2 to 5 kg per day with a high fat percentage of around 5 per cent. The milk is used primarily to produce butter and 'churpi', a local preparation.
As per the Ladakh Animal Husbandry Department, the crossbreed jersey cattle in Leh has been very successful and has brought about a "white revolution" of sorts in the region making cattle rearing easy and profitable for farmers.