The Indian milk collection centre: a one-stop shop
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CTA. 2004. The Indian milk collection centre: a one-stop shop. ICT Update Issue 15. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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T.P. Rama Rao explains how an ingenious, smart card-based computer system is helping Indian farmers to improve their dairy herds and the quality and quantity of their milk.
Twice a day, dairy farmers in the Kheda district of Gujarat, India, visit one of the district´s 600 village dairy cooperative societies to sell their milk at a one-stop dairy shop - an innovative IT-supported milk collection system, comprising a weighing scale, a fat-content testing device and a mechanism to calculate the amount payable. In a typical transaction, the farmer pours the milk into a steel trough, the milk is weighed, and a sample is taken to check the fat content. The farmer then inserts a plastic identity card, or smart card, with a unique code into a reader that is connected to a computer. The PC calculates and prints outs a payment slip, which the farmer presents to the cashier for payment. The whole process takes just a few minutes. The one-stop shop approach is an initiative of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to meet the growing national demand for milk, one of the main sources of protein and calcium for the largely vegetarian population. The NDDB has launched a programme to double the amount of milk collected in the next six years, and to improve the production, processing and marketing of milk and milk products. The computerized system has successfully replaced the inaccurate and inefficient traditional methods of milk collection, where the fat content testing and payment were separate processes. In most cases, it took hours to calculate fat content, and farmers were only paid every ten days. In contrast, the one-stop dairy shop enables accurate and immediate payment, and saves time for everyone involved - the farmers, the cooperative societies, and the state. The net result has been a dramatic increase in efficiency and productivity. There are now 2500 one-stop shops, which receive milk from 400,000 farmers daily. With about 70,000 village cooperative societies throughout India, the potential to improve the performance of the dairy sector nationwide is truly staggering. The system has already brought many benefits, including the elimination of fraud, improved financial accounting and thus greater transparency, as well as generating employment in rural areas. DISK The automation of the milk collection process is only the first step in changing the dairy cooperative societies into full-fledged information and marketing hubs for farming communities. The next step is the development and implementation of the Dairy Information Services Kiosk (DISK), a system that will offer additional information services for the members of the dairy cooperative societies. Developed by the Centre for eGovernance at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (CEG-IIMA) and the AMUL dairy cooperative in Kaira, DISK builds on the existing PC-based milk collection and billing systems and includes a wide range of software and multimedia applications. DISK will enable dairy farmers to receive payment slips containing information on the quality of their milk, the health status of their dairy cattle, and the availability of services such as artificial insemination, veterinary advice, cattle feed suppliers, etc. The CEG-IIMA has also developed a http://22.214.171.124:8080/html/ Dairy Portal, an online interface between the cooperative societies and village farmers. This pilot website contains technical information and multimedia content in Gujarati and English for farmers, extension workers and researchers on modern dairying and related practices. The portal could also include an e-banking module, enabling the milk payments to be made directly into a farmer´s bank account, access to insurance and loan facilities, price information and an online livestock market. The above features were implemented in an experiment which was partially successful. Further work is needed on the development of the portal and on selling the concept to the dairy cooperative societies. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Professor T.P. Rama Rao is CEG-IIMA´s coordinator. For further information about DISK, visit www.iimahd.ernet.in/egov/disk.htm www.iimahd.ernet.in/egov/disk.htm.
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