Shishir Arya / TNN
Nagpur: Dinshaw’s, one of the major milk brands in the city, is now eyeing a niche market out of the rising popularity of Gir cow. The company has come up with a brand of exclusive Gir cow milk. At the same time, it is also not being marketed as A2 milk — the tag which is given by a number groups pushing milk of indigenous bovine.
It’s being claimed by independent groups that the Indian breeds have A2 milk, which is beneficial as against the ‘harmful’ A1 milk of foreign breeds like Jersey and Holstein. “However, there is no lab available to certify A2 or A1. So, it is just being marketed as Gir cow milk,” Ajay Upadhyaya, vice-president of Dinshaw’s Dairy Foods Private Limited.
The push for indigenous breed of cow by enthusiasts has made the Gir cow from Saurashtra region of Gujarat famous. Much before it was promoted in India, Brazil had imported the breed and after the selection it has developed high milk yielding animals.
“The plan was under consideration for almost a year. We had been getting inquiries for cow milk. Finally, the new product was launched,” said Upadhyaya.
There are company’s chilling centres in pockets of Wardha and Nagpur districts where the Gir cow’s milk is available. It was decided to buy it separately and market it as an independent brand, said Upadhyaya. The milk is stored in separate tanks.
Initially, around 10,000 litres of Gir cow milk is being procured. As against this, Dinshaw’s on the whole buys nearly 2 lakh litres daily. The demand for Gir cow milk at present is at 2,000 to 2,500 litres. The milk price is slightly higher than the other varieties, he said.
Gir cow is not new to the region. There are settlements of ethnic herdsmen from Gujarat, who have been living here for at least four decades after droughts in their home state forced their migration. The herdsmen have been the traditional breeders of the Gir cow as they belong to Saurashtra where the breed belongs to.
In Vidarbha, the herdsmen have been selling the milk to local dairy processing units, including some major brands. “The milk is poured at the collections centres and fetches the same rate as others,” said Ramabhai Jograna, a herder from Katol.
Jograna said according data collected by his community, there are 20,000 Gir cows in Nagpur district alone. The milk yield would be around 1.5 lakh litres a day. The herder also said his people, who have been supplying Gir milk for years, should also get the recognition.