The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services Society of the Government of Assam, known as the ARIAS Society, have started a collaboration in the informal dairy and piggery sub-component of the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART) which is financed by the World Bank.
The two organizations signed a contract of consultancy services on 16 March 2018 that will see them work together to improve milk and pork safety in the state.
Under the agreement, which was signed by Habibar Rahman, ILRI’s regional representative for South Asia, and Siddharth Singh, state project director, ARIAS, ILRI will provide technical support to APART activities including facilitating transformation of informal dairy sector, developing capacity on laboratory technologies for milk safety and quality assurance under the Food Safety Standard Act for India (FSSAI). The institute will also support the project’s work in improving productivity, strengthening the pork value chain, developing capacity in lab technologies for food safety and quality assurance to comply with FSSAI, and in mapping dairy and pig clusters.
The APART project supports the Directorate of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry and Directorate of Dairy Development in (i) increasing production and productivity by organizing smallholder producers into producer groups to access services, inputs and markets, (ii) developing and equipping a service delivery network for breeding including a multiplier scheme for boars and artificial insemination services, feeding and animal health; (iii) setting up Common Service Centres to support access to inputs, post-harvest management including Bulk Milk Coolers (BMCs) and small-scale slaughterhouses; (iv) capacity development through skills training, demonstrations and exposure visits; (v) enhancing market access through enterprise development and promoting aggregation and processing, with a focus on food safety and human health risks; (vi) developing state capacity to implement the FSSAI; and (vii) training and certification of small-scale market actors such as milk traders, sweet makers and butchers and increasing consumer awareness on food safety.
The support by ILRI will contribute to reducing poverty in the region and improving the livelihoods of the pig farmers.