Madhav Sahakari – Goa Dairy Chairman
Madhav Sahakari speaks about the game-changing reforms undertaken under his leadership
What are your key priorities for Goa Dairy after winning the election?
I had taken over as chairman of the present board in August last year; my work had started since then. Previously there have been mismanagement, some of the key areas were neglected – that is regarding the procurement, giving attention to producers and addressing their grievances. The previous leadership also lagged behind in taking care of the quality of the milk and customer feedback. These issues had to be attended urgently. I started working on all these issues in August 2016 itself. Our administration took 2-3 months just to grasp the exact requirement. After that, we took some hard decisions, where I increased the prices of the milk. Through our meeting with the stakeholders, mostly the milk producers and chairmen of the member societies, we tried understanding their difficulty and why they were moving towards SUMUL. I kept a constant dialogue with them and I was successfully able to stop the outflow of our members to SUMUL. When I took the chairmanship, SUMUL had reached to about 8000-10000 Ltrs of milk procurement. As of today, the same has come down to below 3000 Ltrs of procurement. It was only possible as I was able to impress upon my people by understanding their demands. I think they were convinced and we were able to easily execute targets set by me. And they were completed far better than my expectation. Within another one and half year, I’m trying to get all of them back to Goa Dairy and see to it that I understand the needs of the industry.
Which are the few important decisions that you intend on taking after assuming chairmanship?
Decisions pertaining to procurement as well as sales; because of our past negligence you can say that things had gone wrong. Decisions were not taken at the correct time. That can be corrected and we have to correct it right now. We have to ensure that the milk which comes to our dock is the best milk that is available in the market. We have to review some of the decisions taken earlier, like extra staff which were recruited. Similarly reducing expenditure is another big focus for now. We have made significant increase in the milk procurement that is in purchase price, improving the quality of the feed supply to milk producers, further enhancing services given to them as well as I was able to improve upon the quality of the milk that’s going in the market. Now, after the election, we have to put everything in its place, as till today I have not been fully satisfied. We have to look at the health of the member societies, as well; and if all these factors work in cohesion, then only we will be able to achieve all our targets and ensure that Goa Dairy is making continuous progress.
How do you plan on retaining the farmers?
If we attend to their problems on a day to day basis, then retaining them is not difficult. Our supervisors are spread all over Goa – they can attend the complaints on a timely basis. We also have good veterinary services which are provided to all the farmers as and when needed.
What are your expectations from the government?
We don’t expect financial help from the government as we are better off on our own. We want the government help in management of the milk producers and maintaining good co-ordination between government departments such as Animal Husbandry, Agriculture, Co-operations and Food Directorate. We now need to be more aggressive towards our government approach. Right now, the government is helping us, due to which our production has gone up by 25000 Ltrs per day. Currently, the production per day is 70,000 Ltrs which I want to take to 1 lakh Ltrs by next 3 years. At the same time increasing current sale from Rs 80,000 to Rs 1,80,000 per day.
What is your role in providing government assistance to farmers?
The Government is already providing many subsidies for the farmers and the milk unions. At the same time, we can also facilitate loans to farmers through our associated banks. We have to convince farmers to take up more animals to increase the current business. Continuous co-ordination between the milk producers as well as the government officers is very much essential which Goa Dairy had failed to do in the past. Goa Dairy should be the facilitator to government agencies as well as Milk producers. We will reintroduce the schemes which were stopped earlier. We will also bring some new initiatives with the help of state government as well as central government.
Your comment on the ever so increasing milk prices and deterioration of milk quality?
Our liquid milk production is not as per the requirement. The increase has been 5% per annum whereas the demand has been around 7%. Hence we need to fill the gap of around 2%. Liquid milk is inadequate in the market; hence the prices are shooting up of all the milk companies. If we are self sufficient in Goa, then only we can control the prices. We need to get maximum milk from the local farmers; or else we have to draw milk from other states – and then price fixation slips out of our hands. As per my understanding, prices won’t go up in the nearby future. My target is to keep the prices stable for at least one or two years.
I can assure our stakeholders as well customers through your medium that deterioration of milk quality will never occur at least in my tenure. In the next 5 years, no substandard milk will be sold. We might sell lesser milk, but we will sell only good quality milk. For some time now, people used to raise the questions on the quality and smell of the milk; however we have successfully worked on this issue and for the past one and half month we haven’t received single complaint. We received support from FDA on that front, as well. We have kept a complaint book at every retail outlet, so that we receive all kinds of feedback. We try to resolve each and every complaint within 24 hours. I think we are working very efficiently.
What are your strategies to improve efficiency of the Goa Dairy?
Sales and procurement both go hand in hand. This will eventually help us in getting good financial results. That can be achieved by rigorous efforts. We will assess the requirement of the staff, as some of our old staff is already being retired. After the same process, we will lay off the extra staff which was recruited in excess by previous leadership. Further we want to expand our product line. Re-organising of our booths has also started.
As per government consultation, we will execute the additional strategies as and when possible