Nava Kanta Kalita
PATACHARKUCHI, May 8 - Bhojkuchiapara village, situated at a remote area in the north-eastern part of Bajali subdivision of Barpeta district and approximately 10 km east of Patacharkuchi is not a well-known place by any means. But Juna Tamuli Barman, a woman of the village has done wonders with dairy farming in this non-descript village and proved that hard work will always yield a fruitful result.
It is a matter of praise that she produces approximately 150 litres of milk per day. Dairy farming is flourishing in Bajali subdivision, resulting in a record production of milk, which has augmented the incomes of the people and also solved the burning unemployment problem to a considerable extent in the area. Its impact is also spreading outside the subdivision. It may be mentioned that several thousand litres of milk is being produced daily by the farmers, who besides fulfilling the local needs, sell a major portion of the milk to Purabi Dairy, Guwahati.
Even though her husband helps her, most of the work, including looking after the cows, milking, supplying feed etc. is done by Juna. The industrious woman keeps her cows in a very neat and clean state. When this correspondent visited her work place, she was busy in feeding her cows and cleaning the cowshed. Her successful journey started seven years back, when she got her first crossbred cow by artificial insemination from their own cow at home. Now she has a number of milking cows including six adults and 13 calves. She milks her cows by hand. Dr Hitesh Pathak, Assistant Veterinary Surgeon, Patacharkuchi Veterinary Hospital has been helping her from the beginning of her journey. She got a loan of Rs 4.8 lakh from NABARD and recently got another Rs 10, 000 under the Individual Beneficiary Scheme of DRDA for grass cultivation. The family has cultivated four bighas of land for production of cow feed.
Juna and her husband Pranab Barman informed that in future they were planning to produce milk products. Now they were selling their milk directly at ‘Himalaya Dugdha Utpadak Samiti’ Nityananda at a rate of Rs 35- 37 depending upon quality. Juna has also done a short-term training in dairy farming at Nityananda and Khanapara. She informed that they incur an expenditure of at least Rs 2000 daily for their cows and compared to the expenditure, the selling price of milk is very less. They are also running a biogas (gobar gas) plant in their house. With the use of 30 kg cow dung per day, they produce their fuel for the cooking feeds and domestic use also without any expenditure of LPG.
Juna was awarded for her excellent work by the former Governor of Assam, JB Patnayak. Most of the households in this area have started dairy farming as a means to generate income, changing the socio-economic condition of the people remarkably. A white revolution has indeed begun in Bajali subdivision and the contribution of the women at various levels must be lauded.