The Milk Processing Unit Benefits the Zambala Milk Cooperatives in Norbugang

May 10th, 2024

Zambala Dairy Group, founded in 2019 in Nyngshingborang under Norbugang Gewog, comprises 65 members (F: 36, M: 29) currently. Mr. Pema Wangda, presently serving as the chairman, leads and oversees the operations of the Zambala Dairy Group. The group has leased a private residence for a duration of 15 years to serve as their Milk Processing Unit (MPU), paying a monthly rent of Nu. 1000. Since its inception, the MPU has received support from CARLEP-IFAD, including equipment such as a vacuum packing machine, a freezer, a milk chiller, milk cans, a display refrigerator, a yogurt processing machine, and a butter churner.

With financial backing from CARLEP-IFAD, the construction of the Milk Processing Unit was completed towards the end of the fiscal year 2022-2023. Presently, they are efficiently operating the machinery in the newly constructed milk processing unit with a high level of sophistication. On average, 218 liters of milk are collected monthly from each household, totaling to 14,202 liters of milk collected in a single month. The group sells their milk at Nu. 43 per liter.

With the Milk Processing Unit fully furnished and operational, they now produce value-added dairy products such as butter, cheese, yogurt, and curd, in addition to other dairy products. Utilizing group-owned utility vehicles, the majority of their products are marketed to key market hotspots, namely Thimphu, Phuentsholing, and Nganglam. Furthermore, with the assistance of the Regional Agriculture and Marketing Cooperative Office (RAMCO), the group is in the process of establishing links with the Market Shed at Nganglam, which is nearing completion. Additionally, with the improvement of product standardization, they anticipate engaging in exports across and beyond the boundaries into the neighboring countries.

The increase in milk production is credited by group members to the availability of feed throughout all seasons and the provided facilities. Each member has received fodder slips funded by CARLEP, enabling them to own between 1 to 4 acres of fodder land. Furthermore, members have benefited from subsidized support for constructing improved cattle sheds, cattle sourcing, acquiring chaff cutters, receiving artificial insemination, and utilizing sex-sorted semen for selective breeding to enhance yields.

Furthermore, the Zambala Dairy Group has made a significant impact by generating employment opportunities within their communities, especially for the youth. The Milk Processing Unit (MPU) has hired four young individuals, including two females, offering them a monthly salary of Nu. 12,000 each. Similarly, the group compensates the chairman with a monthly salary of Nu. 20,000, while the secretary and treasurer each receive Nu. 17,000 per month. Currently, members of the dairy group are earning monthly incomes ranging from Nu. 10,000 to Nu. 50,000 through milk sales. The various forms of support provided by CARLEP have brought about significant improvements in their income levels and overall living standards, ultimately enhancing their rural livelihoods.

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