Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 5- National Dairy Research Institute and Shahabad Co-Op Sugar Mill

Jugaar is a Punjabi expression widely used in India and by Indians around the world to describe their unanny ability to adapt and innovate.  Jugaar literally means an improvised arrangement or work-around, which has to be used because of lack of resources.  Today, like many of our days so far, we practiced jugaar as we encountered traffic, viisited a  dairy research institution, a sugar mill and to listen to a cotton presentation.
Wednesday was scheduled to be primarily a travel day with 2 stops.  After a 3 hour bus ride we reached our first destination the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) in the city of Karnal, state of Haryana.   We were welcomed with beautiful red roses by Dr. RJ Malik and his delegation.  NDRI was established in 1923 in Bangalore, and moved to Karnal, Haryana in 1955 where it is more centrally located for the dairy industry.  In 1989 the Institute recievied the status of a "Deemed" University, so that it confer degrees much like any of our public accredited universities. It currently employs 170 Scientists along with over 1,000 other staff.  NDRI is a large research complex that caters to the needs of India's Cattle production, animal genetics, and the country's premier Dairy Institute.  NDRI was home to "Pratham", the world's first IVF buffalo that was notably born in 1990 and earned the institute world recognition.   During the tour we also met "Mahima", a female buffalo calf born on January 25 to cloned buffalo "Garima-II"   "Mahima" is the first calf in the world to be born to a cloned buffalo.   All the fellows agree that this was a cutting-edge facility by any standard and an asset to the millions of Indian milk producers and consumers of dairy products.  

Our next tour was of the Shahabad Co-op Sugar Mill.  Captain Shakti Singh and his coworkers gave us a complete overview of how this operation and cooperative works.  Sugar cane is a perennial crop with a stand that lasts 3-8 years.  The tour of the mill was astonishin.  We saw everything from farmers delivering sugar canes to the mill to  it's final product, sugar.   We were surprised to find that sugar and milk are the only commodities that have formed successful cooperatives in India.  The Shahabad Co-Op Sugar Mill is owned by 8,000  (yes, eight-thousand) sugar cane growers growers.  This should not be a surprise when you realize the fragmented nature of Indian agriculture where the regular farmer owns less than 1 acre.  The mill is also a net PRODUCER of energy.  The owners have built a 24 kW generato, while using only around 6.5 kW to run the facility.  The rest is sold back to the local utility company.  Like many other agricultural processing facilities, the Shahabad Mill is seasonal, it's roughly 900 employees work about 180 days each year.

After the sugar mill we boarded the bus for another 3 hour ride to our final destination for that evening , Ludhiana,Punjab.  We arrived  just in time to listen to                                                                       one of our class of 42 fellows, Cameron Boswell, present to local textile producers.  Cameron was discussing the outlook for the 2013/2014 global extra long staple cotton market.  He also arranged for a presentation to Class 42 from a local mill owner about the Indian textile industry.

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