Nyukmadung Dairy opens to make in yak milk remunerative

DIRANG, Sep 16: Yak (Poephagus grunniens) is lifeline of highland ethnic communities living in the Himalayan and Trans-Himalayan region under extreme high altitude cold climate, but is not favourable for any agrarian activities. It plays an important role for livelihood of the highlanders catering to their essential needs through its products (milk, meat, fibre, hide, dung) and used for transportation.

Yak milk and milk products are integral components of the diet of these highland communities thriving a healthy and productive life under extreme hypoxic and harsh environment without supplementation of any vitamins and minerals. The unique amino acids, fatty acids, high levels of vitamins and specific enzymes, with the beneficial microbes present in yak milk exerts their beneficial impact in the health of the yak herders in high-altitude.

Yak milk is creamy white, thick, sweetish, fragrant and rich in protein, fat, lactose, minerals and totals solids than cow milk. It contains 15.63-19.63% total solids with 5.29-8.73% fat, 3.45-4.27% protein and 0.64-0.82% ash. In general, yak milk is considered as naturally concentrated milk enriched with a higher nutrient density and loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants; also has vitamins and minerals.

Although, the raw yak is inadequately available for consumption due to the remote habitat of yak rearing, but most of it is processed into various traditional products like chhurpi (wet soft cheese), churkam (hard cheese) and Mar (butter), and a small portion of raw milk in the form of butter tea for their own consumption with a little to sale.

ICAR-NRC on yak working in this respect to prepare diversified products with and value addition of the yak milk viz. designer paneer, yak ghee, dahi, ripened and mozzarella cheese, churkham etc. The institute planned to start a milk parlour in its yak farm at Nyukmadung for production of value added yak milk products and to conduct capacity buildings programmes for the tribal yak farmers through training with hands-on-practices on value addition of yak milk and preparation of diversified yak milk products to get yak herders more incentives from yak herds and make yak farming better remunerative.

Accordingly, a milk parlour, named ‘Yukmadung Dairy’ has been set up at Nyukmadung yak farm to make yak milk more remunerative for the grazers, which was inaugurated here on Friday in presence of ASRB member Dr. S. P. Kimothi, ICAR-NRCY director Dr. Mihir Sarkar, Guwahati’s ICAR-NRC on Pig director Dr. V. K. Gupta and Nagaland’s ICAR-NRC on Mithun director Dr. G. Patil besides  yak farmers and dignitaries.

A interactive session between scientists and farmers was conducted under the chairmanship of Dr. Kimothi followed by input distribution to tribal farmers under Schedule Tribe Component (STC). All pointed out the scope and prospects of yak milk and importance of value addition and diversified product preparation. They all suggested the yak herders to opt the opportunity to take trainings from ICAR-NRC on yak and make their yak farming more remunerative, according to an official release.

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