June 18, 2021

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The dairy industry is hundreds of years old in that area

About five years ago. Another experience was when I went to report a cattle farm in Charachithulia village of Shahjadpur upazila in Sirajganj. His son has fever in the house of Joynal Abedin of the village. Cows also have fever. But Joynal Abedin is leaving his son and running to the doctor with the cow.

There are hundreds of examples of such passion for cows among the farmers of Pabna-Sirajganj. Because, cows are the only source of income for many people in this area. To some, the cow is again a symbol of dignity.

* In 1882 the British ruling was spared the possibility of carrying out the Lord’s Lynn lithado cows in the area
: * The Lord of the farmers in the area of the subcontinent Lin lithado yielding bulls and cows from different parts of the supply
* Rabindranath Tagore in 1894-95 with the farmers formed cooperatives
* Rabindranath Tagore brought improved breeds of Multani and Sindhi breeds of bulls and cows from India and supplied them to the farmers
* Pabna breed was invented through cross-breeding of local cows with the bulls provided by Rabindranath .

Cattle farms are found in Bera, Santhia, Faridpur, Bhangura, Chatmohar and Sujanagar of Pabna and in Shahjadpur, Ullapara and Tarash upazilas of Sirajganj district. There are many areas where there are no cows, not even a house can be found. Abdul Momin of Brishalikha Mahalla in Bera Municipal Area said, ‘He saw my three-storey house. And next to the house is my cowshed. Cows are a symbol of social status in our area. If someone builds a house, people will ask, ‘Is the house built, cow bride?’

According to the livestock office of the concerned area, there are about 25,000 dairy farms in Pabna-Sirajganj area. Besides, milk is produced by keeping one or two cows in most of the houses in the village. In all, 10 to 12 lakh liters of cow’s milk is produced in this area. Based on this milk, government Milk Vita and private Pran Dairy, Arang Milk, Farm Fresh, Amomilk, Puramilk, Aftab Dairy, Rangpur Dairy and several other milk collecting and processing companies have been formed. These organizations collect five to six lakh liters of milk every day.

A farmer is feeding the cows on the farm.  Taken recently from the village of Afra in Santhia.

A farmer is feeding the cows on the farm. Taken recently from the village of Afra in Santhia.
Photo: Prothom Alo

The way it started is
that after talking to the officials of the Livestock Office, it is known that milk production and trade started increasing in this area in the early 18th century. In 182, the English ruler Lord Lynn Leithdo speculated about the possibility of raising cattle in the area. He supplied improved breeds of bulls and cows to the farmers of the area from different parts of the subcontinent.

Poet Rabindranath Tagore was entrusted with the task of supervising the zamindari of this area including Shahjadpur in 1890. The poet left a lot of fame in the area during his supervision of the zamindari. The expansion of the dairy industry is one of them. Seeing the immense potential of the dairy industry in this area, the poet formed a cooperative society with the farmers in 1894-95. Later he brought improved breeds of Multani and Sindhi breeds of bulls and cows from India and supplied them to the farmers. A new breed of cow called ‘Pabna Breed’ was invented through cross-breeding of local cows with the bulls provided by him.

Farmers are spending busy time on the farm.  Taken from the fence bull line mahalla

Farmers are spending busy time on the farm. Taken from the fence bull line mahalla
Photo: Prothom Alo

According to an article published in the Agricultural Information Service (AIS), this breed of cow is also known as ‘Pabna Cattle’. 10 to 12 liters of milk could be obtained from this breed of cow. Of course, now more improved breeds of cows and bulls have been imported and invented in the country. About 25 liters of milk is now available from these improved breeds of cows.

Monwar Hossain, assistant professor of history at Manzur Quader Women’s College, said, ‘Basically, the development of the dairy industry in our area has been done by the poet. He not only provided improved breeds of cows and bulls in the area, but also donated about four and a half thousand bighas of land at Rautara near Shahjadpur for cattle grazing. The land he donated is known as Bathan. Thousands of cows are grazing in this area even today.

On the other hand, the modern context of dairy industry in this area was started by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In 1983, Milk Vita, a government milk processing company, was set up at Baghabari on the banks of Baral river in Shahjadpur upazila on his initiative. In the beginning, it was the only dairy processing and collection company in the area. Apart from Milk Vita, at least 15 non-governmental organizations have been set up in the area.

Abdur Rauf, owner of Pura Milk, a dairy company based in Amaikola village in Santhia, said, “The dairy industry has been a blessing for the people of the area. As it has provided employment to thousands of people, so has the affluence of households. My factory is small. I collect only four thousand liters of milk every day and send it to Dhaka. Even then, I have arranged employment for at least 20 people around this factory.

Mahfuza Mina, a national award winning farmer from Bera municipality, said, “I started in 2010 with two cows. Now I have 60 cows on my farm. More than 300 liters of milk is produced every day. Besides, at least 25 cows are sold from the farm every year. In all, my farm earns about 12 lakh rupees a year. This farm has not only made me financially prosperous, it has also given me respect and dignity. ‘