With their cooperation we will increase milk production by four to five times, says Gadkari.
Dairy major Amul is keen on setting up a Rs 400 crore project in drought-hit Vidarbha region of Maharashtra where farmers are committing suicides, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.
"We have requested Amul to set up dairy projects in Vidarbha where farmers are committing suicide. They have shown interest in Rs 400 crore project. With their cooperation we will increase milk production by four to five times. Farmers will get much relief," Gadkari, who is an MP from Nagpur that is in the Vidarbha region, told PTI.
Vidarbha which houses 75% of forests of Maharashtra has so far not been able to be successful in dairy business and west Maharashtra's Kolhapur district has much better production, the Road, Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister said.
The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) markets the Amul brand of milk and dairy products and the Amul Model of dairy development is a three-tiered structure.
Gadkari said Amul recently revived a dairy in Jalgaon and now it has evinced interest in Vidarbha.
"They are ready to buy milk. Their rate is better than the market. Dairy has not been successful in Vidarbha now.
...There are plans for Rs 400 crore projects," he said and added that the Maharashtra government under a pact may transfer existing assets to them.
Addressing a seminar on 'Liberating the Farmers from Debt Trap' earlier, the Minister said that he had recently been to Gujarat and talked to Amul, the biggest dairy cooperative in the country to come to Vidarbha.
Gadkari said once the dairy business is set up farmers could be taken out from the agrarian crisis.
Amul is planning to invest about Rs 2,500 crore to raise its milk processing capacity to more than 38 million litres per day in the next four years.
Besides Amul project, Gadkari said several steps have been taken for farmers including their orientation towards beekeeping, sericulture, goat farming and improving the breeds of popular cows like Sahiwal and Gir.
He said bamboo cultivation is also being encouraged and sericulture has immense scope.
Silk sarees from Maharashtra were much in demand and were a hit among celebrities and politicians like Hema Malini, Priyanka Chopra, Sushma Swaraj and Sumitra Mahajan, he said.