In the land of dairy cooperatives, a small dairy products company Maahi Milk Producer Company, has started making its presence felt. Starting operations this March, Maahi which currently sells milk and milk products in the Saurashtra-Kutch region and Ahmedabad region in the state, has already touched 300,000 litres of pouched milk sales per day. While Maahi currently co-brands its products with Mother Dairy, it plans to go solo in around six to eight months time once it gains some foothold in the regional market. The target is to grow by 30 per cent by next year. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) which owns the Mother Dairy brand had come up with the idea to float an independent dairy produce and marketing company moving away from the traditional cooperative model. Maahi Milk Producer Company was thus registered on June 7, 2012, and it started operations from March 18 this year. "There is no investment of either the NDDB or the government in Maahi, it has been formed solely with contribution from farmers.
The producers are actively and directly involved in the company," said M M Bhatt, chief executive officer of Maahi Milk Producers Company. He added that NDDB had come up with an alternative to the cooperative model, whereby decision making process would be faster and also minimal or no political interference. With around 85,170 farmer members spanning across 2142 villages in various districts of the state, Maahi currently procures 700,000 litres of milk per day. "We pay our farmers at market rates, and have also priced our pouched milk and other milk products at par with the market leader," Bhatt said. Currently, Maahi is selling its liquid milk in pouches as a co-branded product with Mother Dairy. "In around six to eight months time, we will review our market position, and assess if Maahi can sustain on its own. We plan to go solo with the Maahi brand soon," Bhatt explained adding that Maahi has already started testing waters with selling ghee and curd under the solo Maahi brand since the last 15-20 days. The initial response has been very encouraging, Bhatt quipped. Apart from pouched milk, Maahi has a portfolio of ghee, curd, buttermilk and butter at the moment. It also sells skimmed milk powder (SMP) and white butter outside Gujarat in states like Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh apart from Delhi and Mumbai. "We also sell around 185,000 litres of bulk milk to Delhi and Mumbai per day," Bhatt said. It currently gets its pouched milk and other products contract manufactured at NDDB's Junagadh and Madhapar dairy plants. The Gujarat dairy market which has been a stronghold of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) which markets the Amul brand of milk and milk products, has off late seen the entry of several smaller players like Vimal Group, Jain Dairy and even Flourish Purefoods.