What began as a modest cooperative venture, within a span of just eight years, has turned into the world’s largest dairy firm fully owned by rural women —Shreeja Mahila Milk Producers Company Limited (MMPCL).
Launched in 2014 in the Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) format with its headquarters at Tirupati is now co-owned by a massive 1.09 lakh women from South India. Every woman supplying milk to the dairy is made a proud shareholder of the firm.
The company’s journey began with milk procurement from a handful of villages in the Chittoor district with the support of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). Today, its roots have spread far and wide covering five districts of southern Andhra Pradesh, five in Tamil Nadu and one in Karnataka.
The secret behind this unprecedented success is the sense of ownership among its shareholders who feel attached to their work. These women also show a strict commitment towards milk quality and have zero adulteration tendencies.
₹700 crore turnover
As a result, it has carved a niche for itself in the dairy-rich southern Rayalaseema region. “We achieved a turnover of ₹706 crores last year and now aim to touch ₹900 crores this year”, Chief Executive Officer Jayatheertha Chary told The Hindu. The company also made an impressive profit of ₹5 crores, the lion’s share of it going back to the women owners towards dividend.
The company has consistently ensured strong forward and backward linkages. Armed with an assured milk supply of a mind-boggling six lakh litres every day from even interior villages, the company has taken forward its marketing policy to reach the shelves of the supermarkets, besides directly supplying to the doorsteps.
Apart from conventional milk, curd and buttermilk, the company has expanded its product line by adding ghee, lassi, paneer and yoghurt to address the diverse needs of the market. A study has shown that packaged milk caters to a mere 40% of the milk market while loose sale meets the remaining 60%.
Eyeing a huge potential in this segment, Shreeja recently ventured into this market by taking chilled unprocessed milk from the nearby Bulk Milk Cooling Units (BMCUs) to the nearest urban centres.
“It is not just tapping the market potential, but addressing the rampant malpractices prevalent in the supply chain, which is prone to adulteration”Jayatheertha Chary CEO of Shreeja Mahila Milk Producers Company Limited
Named as ‘Milk ATM’, the mobile vending unit was recently flagged off in Tirupati jointly by Additional Superintendent of Police E. Supraja, DRDA Project Director D.M.K. Thulasi and the MMPCL’s Director and chairperson K. Sridevi. “It is not just tapping the market potential, but addressing the rampant malpractices prevalent in the supply chain, which is prone to adulteration”, points out Mr. Chary.
As an inaugural offer, the chilled milk is sold at ₹45 against the existing open market price of ₹55 a litre. “Going by the response, we will soon press ten such vehicles into service in Tirupati and explore other Tier III cities in the districts we have presence in”, Mr. Chary adds.