NABARD has set up the DIDF with a corpus of Rs 8,004 crore to bring more dairy farmers into organised milk marketing through cooperatives.
The fund is implemented through National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
Singh formally launched the fund by handing over a cheque of Rs 440 crore as the first installment to NDDB Chairman Dilip Rath.
The funding support is given to dairy cooperatives at an interest rate of 6.5 per cent per annum and will have to be reimbursed over a period of 10 years.
Speaking about the fund, the minister said NABARD has so far sanctioned Rs 843.81 crore under the DIDF for 15 projects with an outlay of Rs 1,148.61 crore for dairy cooperatives in Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana.
The DIDF is aimed creating at additional milk processing capacity of 126 lakh litre per day, milk drying capacity of 210 million tonne (MT) per day and milk chilling capacity of 140 lakh litre per day, Singh said.
“This fund will benefit 95 lakh farmers in about 50,000 villages. Many skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers will get employment, directly and indirectly,” he added.
Expressing concern over poor infrastructure in cooperative dairies, the NDDB chairman said the fund will benefit them to modernise and expand the processing capacity in a big way.
He, however, cautioned milk unions availing loans from the DIDF to complete the projects on time and asked them to adopt modern technology to run at low cost and focus on marketing and diversification to get better returns.
“We have to sanction a loan of Rs 8,004 crore in the next two years. I am sure, we will achieve the target,” he noted.
NABARD Chairman H K Bhanwala said:”We have given Rs 440 crore from this fund. The first disbursement has been made to NDDB, which will further give to 6 milk unions in Karnataka and Punjab.”
R S Sodhi, MD of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMFL), said his cooperative will also send proposals seeking loans from the DIDF as it has plans to increase from existing 3.6 crore litre per day capacity to 8 crore litre per day in the next 10 years.
At present, the country has a dairy processing capacity (both cooperative and private sectors) of 9 crore litre per day. Out of which, GCMMFL alone has 3.6 crore litre per day capacity.
“The way consumption is rising in double digit, the capacity will have to be increased to 30 crore litre per day in the next 10 years. To set up a dairy processing capacity of 20 crore litre per day, minimum Rs. 80,000 – 90,000 crore is required, then only we will be able to meet the requirement of milk products,” he said.
India is the largest milk producer in the world with an estimated production of 176.35 MT.
The vision 2022 document has pegged the country’s milk production at 254.5 MT.
Minister of State for Finance Pratap Shukla, Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Raj and other senior ministry officials were present at the event.