When the lockdown in the state has put milk producers in distress, farmers in Bhoom Tehsil of Osmanabad district were saved by khawa (solid milk). Almost 500 farmers have now converted their milk produce into khawa and stored it in the cold storage of the cluster.
Nirmal Milk Product Association, an association of farmers, established a Common Facility Center (CFC), which is also known as Khawa Cluster Bhoom in MIDC Bhoom. The cluster, established in 2015, provides a cold storage facility for 1,000 tonnes of Khawa at minus 16 degree centigrade.
“The lockdown has forced milk producers to throw their milk on the road or in rivers. They were also forced to sell the milk at a dirt cheap rate. In our tehsil, around 500 farmers were facing the same problem. But we advised them to convert the milk into khawa. They formed 125 groups and collected 10 lakh litres of milk. They then converted this milk into 200 tonnes of khawa and stored it in our cold storage. The cost of this khawa is currently Rs 2.5 crore. When they will sell it after the end of the lockdown, they will at least get Rs 4 crore. Thus, our cluster not only saved the milk but also helped them to get additional income,” Vinod Jogdand, chairman of the Nirmal Milk Product Association told FPJ.
“As there is a ban on inter-district transport, they could not have gone to any other district to get this milk converted into khawa. Though many of them are not our members, we offered our facility. We feel happy that during the crisis of CoVID-19, our cluster proved useful,” he said.
“Now we are trying to get a loan against this khawa. We have requested banks to give us a 75 per cent loan against it,” he said. If this request is accepted, the farmers will get money for farming and milk production, he added.
5,000 people in distress
The khawa of Bhoom is high in demand in the state for making pedha, a traditional sweet generally offered to God. Most of the big temples in the state and major sweet shops in the neighbouring districts buy Bhoom khawa. Around 5,000 people, including farmers, labourers and others involved in the supply chain, are suffering due to the lockdown. As temples and sweet shops are closed, there is no taker for khawa.
Branding of khawa soon
“Osmanabad district collector Deepa Mudhol Mundhe has sanctioned Rs 60 lakh for installing solar system at this cluster. We are also trying to get funds from the central government for converting traditional kilns of farmers into solar one. These kilns boil the milk for a long time to convert it into khawa, utilising wood as fuel, causing major afforestation. Our paper was presented before NITI Aayog, but the decision is awaited due to the lockdown. Once we get funds, we will convert all kilns into a solar one,” Jogdand informed.
“We have already started training for maintaining hygiene in all the production, packing and transportation processes. Once all the kilns get converted into solar, we will develop Bhoom Khawa as a brand, and will pack and give it back to the farmers to sell. Currently, we do not sell this khawa under any brand name or packing. This process will create at least 400 new job opportunities in the cluster or related units and will also help to increase the sale,” he stated.