Shivam Milk Producer Co-operative Society Ltd., supported by Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF), was conferred with the ‘Best Working FPO’ Award under the category of ‘Aggregation and Marketing’. The award was presented by the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur at the Himachal Pradesh State Credit Seminar by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
Shivam Milk Producers Co-operative Society was launched in 2015 under the aegis of the Ambuja Cement Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of Ambuja Cements Ltd. What started off as a Self-Help Group (SHG) with only 40 women members, has transformed into a 439-strong Farmer Producer Organization (FPO), including an equal number of male farmers, who collect milk, agriculture inputs, cattle feed and also provide agriculture equipment on rent.
“It is a moment of pride to witness the growth of Shivam Milk Producers Co-operative Society and see it being recognized as the Best Working FPO in Himachal Pradesh,” said Neeraj Akhoury, MD & CEO, Ambuja Cement Limited.
“These recognitions are a testament to our consistent efforts towards women empowerment and community development, especially in the areas of financial independence, resource management and skilling in agriculture. The community’s success directly translates to ACF’s success and it strengthens our resolve and commitment towards rural communities” said Pearl Tiwari, Director and CEO, Ambuja Cement Foundation.
ACF has consistently encouraged the establishment of SHGs to improve the socio-economic status of women community members and Shivam Milk Producer Co-operative Dairy Society was born out of this determination of the foundation. ACF recognised the economic potential of community members owning domestic animals and helped them leverage it for income-generating practices such as livestock rearing and milk processing.
Shivam Milk Producer Company is a registered FPO with an annual turnover of Rs. 74 lakhs owing to the enhanced efficiency and economies of scale. Initially, the total milk collection was only 40 liters per day but today it has reached approximately 400 liters per day
Under this program, community members can contribute a membership fee of Rs. 500 to become a part of the FPO. Their business activities include market linkage of milk, providing veterinary facilities, and agricultural equipment on rent such as maize seed drills, threshers, and solar spray pumps. The group also recently installed a bulk milk chilling machine and started producing and selling milk products like cheese, cream, paneer, ghee, butter and curd.
Shivam Milk Producer Company is among the 14 Farmer Producer Organizations supported by ACF in providing capacity building to strengthen organizational development, governance and program operations.