Bhainse Milk Producer Cooperative Society Ltd. is located about one hour south of LDMPCU’s head office in Chapagaun. With 25 members, many of whom have been involved for as many as 20 years, farmers in the community are quick to speak of the benefits being a member has brought.
Sabithri, Krishnaprasad, Radika, Bhuminanda, Ganindra, and Tulashi are all farmers by profession so when neighbours started talking about the cooperative system, they all immediately recognized the possible advantages.
In the past, collection and delivery to the market posed a challenge. Each individual could not get milk to the market each day for sales but now a milk truck drives to the village each day making collection much easier. The declaration of milk holidays when milk would not be purchased was also an issue. LDMPCU was able to voice the concerns of primary level farmers and advocate to the government on how policies like that affected livelihoods.
As a part of the cooperative, they were able to have a more holistic experience around milk production. It was no longer just milk sales but training, knowledge-sharing, heath and care advice, and loans and access to other opportunities. Sabithri and Krishnaprasad value the specialized advice they got on which medicines could treat their buffalo and the other information about how to better care for them. Another aspect that Sabithri and Krishnaprasad reported as very beneficial was the support after the earthquake in 2015. Thanks to the partnership LDMPCU fosters, farmers were provided with aluminum/steel containers to collect and transport milk. This was also more hygienic than plastic containers. Radika and Bhuminanda also had the opportunity to participate in observation tours. Since the cooperative management undertook the planning and booking, farmers were able to participate without the burden of managing the logistics.
The farmers of Bhainse have many plans for the future too. Currently, Sabithri and Krishnaprasad have two buffaloes but they would like to expand to many more, the soft loan program available can help them do that. Since Radika’s children are involved in other professions, rather than focus on the buffaloes she would like to expand her vegetable business. LDMPCU also provides vegetable seeds as milk production is rarely the only source of income. Finally, Ganindra and Tulashi would like to build a more stable cow shed and receive more trainings to expand upon their knowledge of milk production.
While there is always room for improvement and challenges change over time, being a part of a cooperative and on a larger level, a cooperative union – makes these challenges manageable. Farmers like Sabithri, Krishnaprasad, Radika, Bhuminanda, Ganindra, and Tulashi will continue to benefit from activities and support that LDMPCU and its partners provide.