Keenan will supply total mixed rations (TMR) to Keventer’s dairy farmers, who will in due course produce five million litres a day, or two billion litres of milk per annum.
This target represents 300,000 cows and 100,000 farming families. Phase one will start in West Bengal for 3,000 producers and their 10,000 cows, using a “village feeding model”.
Gerard Keenan, executive chairman of Richard Keenan & Co Ltd, said Keenan’s innovate technology and feed solutions will help India reach its growth target of 182m tonnes by 2021.
India is the world’s largest milk producer at 112m/t (versus Ireland at 5mt). Carlow-based Keenan is globally renowned for its patented Mech-fibre dairy diet and its high tech mixer wagon.
Mr Keenan said: “This deal is good news for India’s dairy industry, good news for Keventer and good news for farmers who could never dream of buying a mixer wagon of their own.
“The driver for this deal is threefold. Firstly, Keventer understands that a consistent ration will give a consistent milk product. Secondly, communal TMR improves feed conversion efficiency (FCE) and, in turn, the farmers’ margins. Thirdly, the simple feeding solution has great value in addressing the growing demand for dairy produce in India.”
The Keenan-Keventer partnership has the support of both Indian and Irish governments and will see the development of communal TMR centres supplying locally sourced feeds to the milk suppliers.
West Bengal has herd sizes ranging from one to 40 cows. The direct-supply initiative is particularly targeted at farms with one to 10 cows. After the first phase in Bengal, which will monitor the improvement in FCE, the model will be rolled out into the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat.
Mahendra Jalan, who chairs both Keventer Agro and the dairy section of Confederation of Indian Industry, said: “India has a major challenge to meet its milk supply needs. Keenan brings technology and know-how that is critical to that challenge — the ability to improve feed efficiency, to get more milk from feed, is vital to our country.”
The partnership contract signing in Calcutta was attended by Ken Thompson, Irish Ambassador to India, and Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, who has strong family connections to India. Mr Varadkar said: “This is a development that is innovative in a relationship sense as well as in science and technology. It is important to India and to Ireland.”