India heads to Australia

Parag Milk Foods, which owns Bhagyalakshmi Dairy Farm in Manchar – India’s largest private dairy farm – will send four of its dairy trainers to South Australia later this year to receive a mix of classroom and hands-on training from TAFE SA lecturers.

The trainers will learn about nutrition, housing and calf rearing, among other dairy topics at TAFE SA campuses in Adelaide and in the state’s South East region, which has a long history of producing premium dairy products for Australian and global markets.

TAFE SA is South Australia’s largest vocational education and training provider and one of the largest in Australia. The Indian dairy trainers will be certified to train dairy farmers at Bhagayalakshmi back in Western India.

TAFE SA director of primary industries, animal and laboratory sciences Ann Beacham says TAFE SA has extensive experience in providing primary production, animal welfare and livestock management training both nationally and internationally.

“TAFE SA’s dairy and agriculture lecturers have many years’ of experience in industry as well as established support networks of industry specialists,” Beacham says.
India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk and dairy products.

TAFE SA staff visited Parag Milk Foods and the Bhagyalakshmi Dairy Farm in April 2016 to undertake a scoping visit ahead of the partnership.

In addition, they attended the Global Rajasthan Agricultural Meet in November 2016 – at the invitation of the Rajasthan government – to gain a greater understanding of the challenges facing the agricultural and dairy sectors of Manchar and Rajasthan, particularly around capacity building.

South Australia and Rajasthan formalized a sister-state relationship based on an exchange of technical capabilities and research in 2015. The agreement provides collaborative opportunities across key sectors such as water management and farming.

Parag Milk Foods chairman Devendra Shah says the partnership with TAFE SA would help the company improve the productivity of its cows by better educating farmers on best practice for breeding, feeding, animal husbandry and management.

“We are aiming to train all of our associated dairy farmers under this initiative,” Shah says. “We are also looking at creating a pool of professional farm hands in various aspects of farm management.”

The train-the-trainer partnership between TAFE SA and Parag Milk Foods was facilitated by Austrade.

Australian Trade Commissioner in India Mark Morley says Austrade hoped to replicate similar partnerships between Australia and India, and other Asian markets such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh going forward.

“This partnership demonstrates the possibilities of collaboration between the agricultural industries of both countries as India focuses on climate resilient agriculture production capabilities,” Morley says.

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