paper: The Story of Milk
Vita in Bangladesh
By S. C. Das, Manager (Co-operative
Bangladesh Co-operative Milk Producers Union Ltd, Dhaka.
Currently National Livestock Advisor,
Grameen Bank/UNDP/FAO Community Livestock and Dairy Development Project,
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
All these are the encouraging factors for flourishing of the present Milk
Vita in Bangladesh.
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