Farmer vouches for dairy industry

Shailendra Singh has been running his dairy farm for 16 years and has been a witness to numerous changes in the industry. Picture: ABISHEK CHAND

SHAILENDRA Singh has been a dairy farmer for 16 years and has experienced firsthand the changes the industry has gone through over the past decade.

The 42-year-old has a dairy farm in Verata, Ucunivanua and supplies 120 litres of milk per day to the Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Ltd (FCDCL).

Some of the changes he saw with infrastructure and resources were the process of artificial insemination, calf rearing and using CMR milk bought from New Zealand, the use of milking machines and electric fences on their farms.

He said these investments were not expensive as it would benefit dairy farmers in the long run.

Mr Singh said he had 40 cows in stock and milked 17 cows per day.

“Since my father was a dairy farmer and managed his farm, I was brought up in a dairy farm family.

“From then until 2021, I think dairy farming is a good business for our livelihood and for other farmers too,” he said.

Tuberculosis (TB) was the main cause of problems for larger dairy farmers as their stocks were slaughtered.

Mr Singh said TB and brucellosis had affected 15 of his cows, causing him a loss of around $40,000.

“At the moment, for my farm, I am TB and brucellosis clear but three years back, I had lost ten to 15 cows just because of these two diseases,” he said.

“This loss came around to $30,000 to $40,000 for all cows I had lost.

“But so far, business has been going good regardless of this pandemic, I think one of the issues we farmers are facing is the cost of feeds which have gotten a bit higher as well as the CMR milk.”

Mr Singh also added during the cyclone periods, many farmers had been affected as some had their fences damaged while others had their cows swept away by floods.

Despite these issues, Mr Singh urged other farmers to come into the industry.

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