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Elbit India pumps in Rs 650 crore to set up hi-tech dairy farm in Andhra Pradesh
Friday, 14 August, 2009, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bangalore
Elbit India Agricultural Ventures, part of the Israeli-based Elbit Group, has invested Rs. 650 crore to set up the country's largest dairy farm in Andhra Pradesh. The modern farm spreading over 350 acres will be ready in next three years. The company is also scouting for more opportunities to set up similar farms across the country.

The farm in Andhra Pradesh will see the company investing advanced technology processes to maximise milk production and develop a range of healthy value-added by- products. It intends to have around 5,000 to 10,000 cows.

"Earlier, Elbit has been approved for 43 acres by the government of Gujarat and the necessary clearances are underway. Since the government of Andhra Pradesh provided the necessary approvals for the dairy investment, we were able to chalk out the required infrastructure efforts immediately, "said Yoram Barak, chief executive officer, Elbit India Agricultural Ventures.

"The farm in Andhra Pradesh is located in Chittoor and Kadapa districts. It will have Holstein cow' imported from New Zealand. These cows are highly productive producing 45 litres of milk per day compared to Indian cows which produce 4 litres per day. The quality of milk is also much better than that of the Indian cows," he added.

The Eastern Europe was losing its attraction and we were looking at emerging markets. India fitted ideally because of the English speaking advantage. Although the group has been present in real estate and imaging in India, it decided to take off with its dairy business. We know India is the largest producer of milk and with agriculture being the back-bone, we wanted to provide the best of technology to give the dairy sector the much needed fillip in India, stated the Elbit India Agricultural Ventures chief.

The farm will employ 300 people. There will also be a research and breeding centre at Andhra Pradesh. The company is also roping in 1,000 families for contract farming to support the dairy.

The farm infrastructure will include milk processing plant with a capacity of 3 lakh litre per day. There will be an automatic milking, special systems for milk storage-cooling, designed barns for cow comfort, high quality cattle feed and advanced veterinary services.

The high quality milk will help in the development of low fat and nutritious milk products like cottage cheese, milk shakes, flavoured milk and chocolates.

These products are healthy and cholesterol free. It will target children, expecting mothers, health conscious adults and even people with health problems.

The company will also collaborate with the Indira Gandhi Centre for Advanced Research on Livestock Company Private Limited (IGCARL) at Pulivendula for research, embryo transfer and livestock development.

Elbit Group is into construction, operation, shopping, management and sale of hotels in major European cities and entertainment centres in Central and Eastern Europe.
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