29 May - 28 July, 2000


E-mail conference on
"Small Scale Milk Collection and Processing
in Developing Countries"


Poster Paper: The Story of Milk Vita in Bangladesh







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Poster paper: The Story of Milk Vita in Bangladesh

By S. C. Das, Manager (Co-operative Societies), 
Bangladesh Co-operative Milk Producers Union Ltd, Dhaka. 
Currently National Livestock Advisor, 
Grameen Bank/UNDP/FAO Community Livestock and Dairy Development Project, BGD/98/009. 

Bangladesh Milk Producers Co-operative Union Ltd. (BMPCUL) is one of the largest national level co-operative organizations in Bangladesh. In the late 1960’s, two loss making dairy organisations were amalgamated by the Government to form the Eastern Milk Producers Co-operative Union Ltd (EMPCUL). 

The federal union was called ‘Milk Union’. It used ‘Milk Vita’ as a brand name for its   products.  In the mid 1970’s, the Government of Bangladesh initiated a co-operative dairy venture with the financial and technical assistance from UNDP, FAO and DANIDA. Three chilling plants and one pasteurisation/processing plant were commissioned in rural milk pocket areas. One processing and packaging plant was set up in Dhaka city for standardization of liquid milk and marketing of pasteurised milk and milk products to the city dwellers. 



The main objective of the co-operative dairy complex were: 

  • Raising family income of small farmers in rural milk pockets by facilitating with a remunerative year round cash market of milk through the co-operative system.
  • Assurance of support services for livestock development activities. 
  • Ensuring an adequate supply of hygienic milk and milk products to the urban population.

In 1977, the name of the organization was changed to Bangladesh Milk Producers Co-operative Union Ltd (BMPCUL). Initially the co-operative started its activities in 110 village primary co-operatives having 4304 nos.  of household members in four districts, procured 0.85 million litres of milk and paid Taka 1.85 million to the producers. In spite of gradual increased milk collection, extended support services for cattle development and marketing activities, the co-operative was a losing concern till1990-91 financial years. Development of management skills and commercial approach in business operation led the co-operative to emerge as a profit making organization since 1991-92 and its ever-increasing business success is continuing year after year.

The developmental activities of 1998-99 financial year revealed that the co-operative procured 29.5 million litres of milk from 390 village milk co-operative societies spread in15 districts at a cost of Taka 467.42 million. The 1997/ 98 audited accounts of Milk Vita indicated a net profit of Taka 47.8 million (US $ 1.0 million) on a turn over of Taka 490.5 million (US$ 10.0 million)-much of which was distributed as a dividend to the milk producers. Four additional chilling centres were already set up in the milk pocket areas and one instant milk powder plant of 100,000 litres processing capacity per day commissioned at own fund and three more chilling centres are in pipeline for set up. Milk collection target for 1999-2000 financial years is 32.5 million litres. The current daily milk collection quantity is 115,000 litres and sale volume is around 90,000 litres.  The direct beneficiaries of this co-operative organization are 40,000 landless, small and marginal household milk producers of 390 village primary milk co-operative societies (VMPCS). Other beneficiaries are- 300,000 family members, 800 employees of VMPCS, 300 rickshaw pullers of Dhaka city engaged in milk transportation to the retail shops and 700 employees of different dairy plants and Head Office. Having pasteurised liquid milk and other milk products at their doorsteps daily also benefits millions of city dwellers. 

The important factors behind this sustainable development are: 

  • Empowerment of the Board - since 1991 Milk Vita is governed by an elected Board of Directors, from amongst the VMPCS who are very keen to protect producer’s interest in setting fair milk price, timely procurement of required support services to enhance milk production and active role in business development plan of Milk Vita.
  • Professional management: in1991, BMPCUL was permitted to employ professional management personnel at senior level and this provided a sound efficient management system resulting in improved business turn over. 
  • Support services:

- Fair milk price and milk procuring centres at remote villages facilitate cattle rearing for increased milk production. 
- Up-gradation of local indigenous low yielding cattle to a high yielding variety through massive artificial insemination facilitates increased milk production than that of 90’s decade. 
- Assurance of timely healthcare service decreases producer’s fear on disease outbreak and encourages more cattle rearing for milk production.
- Arrangement of pastureland for winter fodder cultivation and grazing scope greatly expedites increased milk production. 
- Distribution of balanced concentrate cattle feed to the producers at cost and repayment through weekly milk bills facilitate feeding practice to increase milk production. 
- Interest free credit facilities for milch cow purchase and repayment through weekly milk bills helpful to smallholders for cattle rearing and milk production.
- Grant for office construction and furniture procurement.


  • Women participation in cattle rearing, milk selling and in co-operative management facilitates cattle rearing for increased milk production.
  • Training and study tours of the producers at home and abroad facilitate sharing of   knowledge on modern cattle management for increased milk production.
  • Distribution of incentive bonus, additional price to the producers and special prize to the co-operatives stimulate competition for increased milk production.
  • Accountability of employees to the producers through the Board and requirement of approval of the producers’ representative for budget approval stimulate their integrity with the co-operative and thus enhances increased milk supply.
  • Strict quality control measures both at producer’s level and in processing plants disseminate reputation of quality products to the consumers. 
  • Timely distribution of quality pasteurised milk and other dairy products to shops and consumers of greater Dhaka and other cities enhance expansion of marketing network.
  • Use of locally fabricated Milkshaws, an insulated box, mounted on a traditional three- wheeled cycle rickshaw chassis, to deliver milk and milk products in the narrow, congested streets expedite more sales.
  • Since 1992 marketing of standardized fresh milk instead of recombined powder milk created consumers preference for intake of Milk Vita pasteurised milk than any other products available in the market.
  • Duty on imported milk powder and Government patronage on dairy industry also helpful for business development of Milk Vita.

All these are the encouraging factors for flourishing of the present Milk Vita in Bangladesh.

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