The Dairy Development Project started giving cows on 21 March 1984 when we advanced 18 VLWs with Rs 2,400 each.
All of them have repaid these interest free advances in full when they received their stipends for the year 1985, except in one case (DDP 0088) where we had to extend time for another one year since his cow died and he could not claim insurance. With the exception of 4 persons, the management of these cows was good. This was mainly because of the intensive training they received at the RED Dane Project, Hassaraghatta, and at our central dairy at Bagepalli. 3 of these cows died and 1 has a uterus problem.
After these 3 deaths we requested our then Veterinarian to resign, since we felt that his neglect and lack of professional competence contributed largely to those deaths. We then appointed another more qualified vet who has been giving excellent care and attention ever since.
The first cow with Canara Bank participation were given on 20 June 1984 to 8 Coolies from the Kothakota CSU. Though 10 had been selected and loans sanctioned, 2 of them backed out in the least minute due to personal family problems:
At the same time, M. Laxminarasimhappa who had lost a cow and was still willing to try again was helped with a further advance to buy one more cow.
This was the second batch of cows that we brought in bulk from the Bangalore Market. While we were not cheated as to price and breed too much, these animals did not hold their yields for prolonged periods.
But a much more serious problems was that we lost control after about 2 months and could not directly control re-investments. Blame for this has to be put squarely on the Community Worker and shared by me.
The CSU said that they would control the finances of the Loanees and take care of re-investment (i.e. using the monies from milk sale proceeds for buying feed-concentrates, paying for medicines, repaying the bank loan and for personal consumption). But in reality they were not able to exert enough pressure on half the Loanees. While one cow died due to glass pieces in her rumen (a case of gross neglect), 2 others were not fed properly during their advanced pregnant dry periods and so aborted without developing their udders. As a result, they are now totally dry and will remain so till they reconceive and calve again. Will these 2 Coolies, who neglected perfectly healthy animals by not feeding sufficient concentrates, have the interest and financial ability to maintain their cows for another year? And what happened to their bank repayment schedule in the meantime? The fourth cow contracted pneumonia and was neglected during her recovery. As a result she is sick and yields just enough milk to maintain herself, without paying the bank.
This spells the doom of these 3 Coolies (the one whose cow died got insurance). While individuals in the Bank may be sympathetic, the Bank as an institution will be cruel, continuing to charge penal interest on the deferred repayment. The VLW had warned us against this immature haste in handing over responsibilities to the CSU but we had not heeded his advice. These 3 cows need not be sick if the Community Worker and I or the VLW had insisted on adequate feeding of concentrates by retaining financial re-investment control.
On 18 July 1984 we bought another 19 cows for the Coolies of Nakkalapalli and Somnathpura CSUs with Canara Bank finances.
In these villages the KDDC did not start a Milk Collection Society and we had to set up a Milk Collection Centre ourselves. This meant an unexpected and unbudgeted expense of Rs 5,558 but proved to be a great boon. It meant that we had a direct control over the monies got by the Loanees since the milk was being transported and supplied to a KDDC Society at Devaragudipalli in my name, and I received payments in my hands once a fortnight.
The programme is working excellently in these 2 CSUs with very good yields (due to requisite feeding of concentrates) and prompt bank repayments. The Kothakota experience has made me wiser on the dangers of handing over control before a certain level of maturity is reached. At first the Coolies resented this form of a very strict control, but now they are beginning to realise the importance of re-investment. Reinvestment we have found, is a concept and culture totally lacking even in the Middle Peasants. We are sure that in another year’s time this control can be relaxed to a great dial. Just as it is in my interest to keep a tight grip right now, so too it is in my interest to hand over responsibilities in the long run, because I have no intention of continuing to be their Extension Worker for ever and ever.
Then all of a sudden the dreaded Theilerai epidemic struck the taluk and cattle began to die like flies. There was no control measure since the carrier of the protozoan parasite was the tick. And there were no preventive vaccines.
We had a very high causality rate and an alarming fatality till quite by accident our Veterinarian successfully experimented with Matacalfin Tablets, till then used with good results in the treatment of human malaria with excellent results. In spite of most of our cows being effected, we were able to arrest relapses and preserve mild yields by using Metacalfin. The fact that we were able to give good nourishment during recovery (additional concentrates) also helped in near total recovery of milk yields.
On 26 September 1984 we bought 9 more cows with Canara Bank finances. Of these 2 went to Kothakota (1 to replace the one that died due to glass pieces entering the rumen), 2 to Somnathpura (1 to replace the one that died due to Cirrhosis) and 5 to the Jelipigaripalli CSU.
All these cow were bought from the Indian Social Institute, Bangalore, and proved to be very good yielders. But they were not spared from the deadly Theilerai and 2 died in spite of great care and medication.
Unfortunately one of them was the replacement given to DDP 0007 at Kothakota CSU which died. The other died at Jelipigaripalli in spite of excellent management conditions and a mild parasitic infection (we have been using the laboratory facilities of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore).
In summary we bought a total of 52 cows and of them 8 died. 5 Coolies gave up dairying, and 3 replacements were bought. So there are 47 cows in the village today out of a total of 55 bought. of them 43 are in a reasonably good condition, but 4 (3 at Kothakota and 1 at Yellampalli) are having problems. Of these 19 were directly financed by us and Canara Bank financed the remaining 36. Which means that other 64 cows can be given through Canara Bank financing in the taluk under the DDP.
Of these, we will be giving another 34 cows in the next weeks (13 to Yellampalli (HC), 11 to Yellampalli (MV), 5 to Aiavarapalli, 5 to Maravapalli Thanda and 10 to Aachepallli (HC)). Then we would have given a total of 79 cows under the DDP by January 1985 and 30 more could still be given in 1985 under Canara Bank financing.
In addition we have also assisted the Community Workers with interest-free advances which have been fully paid back, and with veterinary extension and training services.