Asia / Markets / Project / Women

The more the butter in the milk, the more the money per kilo for the Buruj dairy farmer

As part of the IFPRI-ILRI Gender, Agriculture, and Assets Project (GAAP), Elizabeth (Liz) Waithanji from the Poverty Gender and Impacts (PGI) team of the ILRI Markets, Gender and Livelihoods Theme visited Care Bangladesh Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain (SDVC) Project in Bangladesh between June 25th and July 2nd 2012. Among the activities she conducted was to visit the milk collection and bulking centre at the Buruj market in Bogra district.

Women and men delivering milk at the Buruj milk collection point Milk weight recording machine in Buruj market, Bangladesh

Women and men delivering milk at the Buruj milk collection point, left image above. Mr Shariful Islam, the milk machine operator, takes about one cc of each farmer’s milk and measures the butter fat content and pours the milk in the urn, which is sitting on a weighing scale. The piece of cloth on top of the urn is used to strain the milk as well as prevent flies from getting into the bulked milk. The machine on the  right picture above  records the weight of the milk added to the urn and the machine to the left records the butterfat content and calculates the monetary value of the milk delivered in terms of its weight and butter fat content.The farmer is then issued with a receipt stating the date and time, quantity of milk collected and the price the farmer will be paid for that batch. Farmers are paid once a week.

Village milk collector in Bangladesh

The lady in red in the picture above is a village milk collector. She collects milk from farmers who are not able to deliver milk to the collection point, weighs it and pays them according to weight but not butter fat content. She then delivers the milk she has bulked to the collection centre and provides a subsample (in the green bottle) for butterfat testing. She is then paid according to the weight and butterfat content. She loves her job, but her children are embarrassed because other children taunt them that their mother is a “village milk collector”, which is demeaning in a society where female seclusion or non-involvement in “outside” work is valued. On the right hand image above, is copy of a receipt issued to a farmer after a milk sale.

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