Farmer milking cow. This milk is put in a can and will then be transported to the processing plant. - - Cooperative Dairy Development Programme Milk Vita in Bangladesh. Because dairy cows area mainly owned by marginal small-holders and are directly linked to family income and nutrition for them, a programme to support dairy development was give high priority by the newly-independent government of Bangladesh beginning in 1974. At that time, the cooperative "Bangladesh Milk Producers Cooperative Union Ltd." (BMPCUL) was initiated by the government with the financial and technical assistance of UNDP and FAO. The cooperative is known throughout the country by the brand name of its products "Milk-Vita".
The primary target poverty group for the intervention were rural small scale farmers including landless households. The main objectives of the programme were threefold:
-increasing family income of small farmers -strengthening support services for livestock development -ensuring the supply of hygienic milk and dairy products to the urban population
The project approach centered in providing a comprehensive package to improve and expand milk production, collection, processing and distribution. FAO and UNDP gave financial and technical assistance, through a series of three projects during the period of 1974 to 1989.
Milk Vita did not start to make a net profit until the early 1990s when the volume of imported milk powder declined significantly, as stock piles in exporting countries declined, and the government withdrew from day to day management. The parallel move to a more commercial business approach at Milk Vita and a higher throughput of local milk also helped profitability.
Today, Milk Vita Cooperative has grown, from a modest start that involved 4 300 very poor landless households in remote rural area, into a successful commercial dairy enterprise involving 40 000 farmers organized into 390 primary cooperatives, with a complete package of milk product