1. Agriculture World

NDDB to Revive Edible Oil Cooperatives and Fruit & Vegetable Sector

NDDB was instrumental in establishing edible oil co-operatives across the country in the 1980s. Now, with global edible oil prices rising and supply shortages caused by the Ukraine crisis, the NDDB plans to re-engage with edible oil cooperatives in order to boost domestic production.

Shivam Dwivedi
Edible Oil
Edible Oil

The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) is re-engaging in developing the country's edible oil co-operatives and fruit and vegetable (F&V) sector along the lines of the dairy co-operative model. The NDDB, which implemented the Operation Flood programme, which helped the country achieve milk self-sufficiency, now expects to play a key role in boosting domestic oilseeds production, such as sunflower and groundnuts, as well as providing a forward linkage to co-operatives and farmer producer companies focused on F&V production.

Meenesh Shah, Chairman of the NDDB, stated that the board's expertise in propagating fodder seeds will be used to boost sunflower seed production. The area under sunflower has been steadily declining due to a lack of high-quality seeds and a low minimum support price. We will try to encourage farmers to increase sunflower seed production now that the government has increased the MSP, Shah said.

As a pilot project, the NDDB recently collaborated with the Karnataka Oilseeds Federation and the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru to increase hybrid sunflower seed production. According to him, the NDDB will consider replicating the initiative in other states such as Maharashtra, Punjab, and Haryana.

"These four states account for 90-95 percent of the country's sunflower production." "Sunflower production in Punjab and Haryana is limited, but yields are very high when compared to Karnataka," he said.

NDDB was instrumental in establishing edible oil co-operatives across the country in the 1980s. Now, with global edible oil prices rising and supply shortages caused by the Ukraine crisis, the NDDB intends to re-engage with edible oil cooperatives in order to boost domestic production. "We are committed to reviving, strengthening, and providing forward linkage through the Dhara brand of edible oil," he said.

In addition, as part of its efforts to use the milk value chain for other commodities, the NDDB is collaborating with the Agriculture Ministry to increase honey production. NDDB's subsidiary Mother Dairy has a presence in the F&V segment, processing and providing a forward link to farmers.

"Some village-level co-operatives in Gujarat engaged in F&V production are eager to collaborate with NDDB for processing of the produce and are also seeking assistance in organizing the farmers." We have agreed to assist them, and formalities are being completed," Shah stated. These cooperatives will begin by processing potatoes and tomatoes before expanding to include other vegetables such as cauliflower, which are already grown in the area.

Similarly, Mother Dairy has a fruit processing unit in southern Gujarat where it sources directly from farmers. The tomato puree unit of Mother Dairy in Ranchi, Jharkhand, has encouraged farmers to grow the processing variety of tomatoes in that region. According to Shah, the area under tomato cultivation in Jharkhand is increasing due to Mother Dairy's guaranteed purchases in the region.

NDDB, like the F&V co-operatives, is receiving interest from FPOs in seeking support for forward linkages. Although the NDDB was eager to assist co-operatives and FPOs in establishing processing units, Shah stated that these entities should begin marketing the produce and establishing the entire value chain on their own.

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