Empowering Maharashtra's Dairy Industry:Rockwell Automation & ISAP India Foundation's CSR Initiative

Rockwell Automation, the world's largest company focused on industrial automation and digital transformation, is helping to modernize farming practices in rural India in partnership with the ISAP India Foundation. 

The initiative, titled "Economic and Social Development of Indian Village Through Technology-Enabled Dairy Farming," aims to help modernize dairy farming practices in the water-scarce region of Antargaon (near Nagpur) in Wardha District, Maharashtra. This also involved collaboration with a technology implementation partner – eVerse.AI, to implement this corporate social responsibility (CSR) project on the ground.

The Need for Modernizing Dairy Farming

The dairy industry is vital to India's economic and nutritional security. India has one of the largest cattle populations globally and is the world's largest milk producer. However, the sector faces challenges such as low productivity of milch animals, inadequate quality, insufficient level of processing, lack of cold storage and transportation infrastructure in rural areas, exploitation of farmers by intermediaries, etc.

The average milk yield per animal in India is only 3.2 kg compared to 12.5 kg and 10 kg in leading dairy producers like the US and Brazil. Further, over three-fourths of all milk produced is consumed directly without processing, impacting quality. The decentralized and fragmented structure of dairy farming with small landholdings makes it harder to apply modern practices. These issues negatively affect the earnings and socio-economic status of millions of small dairy farmers across villages.

There is significant potential to enhance productivity, quality, and commercial efficiency through scientific dairy farming methods and integrating technologies like IoT, data analytics, biotechnology, etc. By strategically investing in the modernization of the sector with a focus on animal health, nutrition, breeding, and supporting infrastructure like cold storage and transportation, dairy farming can provide much higher income levels for rural communities and bolster India's position in the global dairy trade.

CSR Philosophy, Partnership with ISAP, and Project Objectives

Rockwell Automation's CSR philosophy focuses on innovative investments targeting long-term socio-economic improvement of underprivileged communities, including small farmers and artisans. Its strategic partnership with ISAP India Foundation for this project is aimed at uplifting thousands of dairy farmers in water-scarce, socio-economically backward villages of the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra through large-scale digitization of farming practices by leveraging technologies like IoT, AI/ML, biotechnology, and integration of global scientific veterinary advisory.

The core objective is to substantially enhance milk productivity per cattle, milk quality, additional earning potential for farmer families through commercial utilization of cow dung, and creating sustainable village-level economic ecosystems around dairy farming through interventions across the production value chain – cattle health, nutrition, breeding and reproduction, farm mechanization, fodder development, market linkages, value-added products from dairy output, etc. The project aims to empower women by enhancing their engagement in productive economic dairy-related activities.

Deployment Strategy and Key Interventions

The CSR project strategically focuses on Antargaon village in the water-scarce region of Wardha district, Maharashtra, to demonstrate a scalable model of technology-led dairy farming that can have an exponential impact as it expands to villages across the state. 

Antargaon was selected after extensive research by Rockwell Automation and ISAP India because of the vigorous engagement and support from over 100 dairy farmers who own around 800-1000 cattle. Over the past couple of years, these cattle owners were organized into a dairy cooperative society by ISAP India through community engagement initiatives, which provided a solid foundation for collaborative participation.

Implementation Rollout and Progress

The on-ground implementation by Rockwell Automation and ISAP India began in May 2022, starting with extensive field studies and baseline surveys to map the status of dairy farming practices, challenges faced by farmers, milk productivity, and income levels. This provided critical insights that shaped the intervention strategy for each area listed above.

Over the next 6-7 months, activities were rolled out across focus areas based on recommendations from global experts and the availability of proven technologies that could amplify the impact and support infrastructure in Antargaon village.

Impact Created

The CSR initiative through Rockwell Automation and ISAP India Foundation has made a measurable impact in enhancing the lives and livelihoods of dairy farmers in Antargaon village. Some of the essential thing consequences finished in a short span of 6-7 months encompass:

Using IoT-enabled clever collars for farm animals' fitness tracking and preventive care based on real-time indicators has improved animal health and milk productivity. In step with cattle, milk yield has increased from a median of eight-10 liters to twelve-sixteen liters daily.

Milk has progressed due to proper nutrition and preventive healthcare for dairy animals. This is supporting farmers to get better costs for their produce.

The sale of cow dung provides added revenue for farmers, enabling them to have savings and economic stability. The daily income from the cow dung sales has increased from Rs.500 to Rs. 1500-2000 per family. Over 100 women are engaged in productive economic activities because of this project. The scalable model of commercial utilization of cow dung empowers women farmers to gain financial independence.

The project educates farmers about the latest technologies and global best practices around dairy farming, cattle breeding, farm mechanization, fodder production, etc., through various dairy farming extension activities. This is helping create a new generation of technology-savvy, scientifically trained commercial dairy farmers.

This initiative has also led to a greater awareness of the importance of preventative healthcare and cattle nutrition and how they impact milk productivity and farm economics. Farmers are adopting balanced cattle feed for optimal nutrition.of

By enabling members of dairy cooperatives formed by ISAP India Foundation to sell milk and milk products directly to consumers in cities like Nagpur, the project is helping minimize exploitation by intermediaries and getting fair prices.

The measurable impact created within a short period validates the potential of strategic CSR investments leveraging technology and community participation to transform lives at scale. Rockwell Automation plans to expand this initiative to additional villages in the Vidarbha region while ensuring the sustainability of interventions. The innovative model can also be replicated across India to modernize the dairy industry by integrating automation technologies and scientific farming techniques.


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