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Decline In Raw Milk Production Continues: Nand

Decline In Raw Milk Production Continues: Nand
Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Limited (FCDCL) chief executive officer Sachida Nand. Photo: Maraia Vula
September 08
10:30 2018

The Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Limited (FCDCL) chief executive officer Sachida Nand has expressed concern over the recent decline in milk production.
“The industry has been affected by a disease called Bovine tuberculosis. Which has seen a lot of animals been culled,” Mr Nand said.
“We have lost animals left front and centre and in the last three of four years we have lost 4000 to 5000 animals and that’s a huge lost to the industry.
“If you lose 45 per cent of your stock in the dairy industry on milking cows you are bound to have a decline in milk production.”
But he said they also have plans to boost the dairy industry in the future.
He explains in an interview below.

1.Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am from Vunivau, Labasa, Vanua Levu. Studied in Qawa Primary School and studied from Form three and four at All Saints Secondary School.
Then I moved to Penang Sangam High School to do Form five and six.
From there I joined Fiji College of Agriculture, to do my diploma in Tropical Agriculture.
After completing my diploma in Tropical Agriculture I joined the Ministry of Agriculture as a trainee communication assistant, and then worked in the communication department for two years, and then as a Commercial & Publication Officer at the Sugar Cane Growers Council.
Later as a Projects and Education officer and Deputy Systems administrator at the British High Commission, NZAID Programme Administrator (Regional) at theNew Zealand High Commission, National Sales manager at Taubmans Paints in Suva, National Sales and Marketing manager, Dulux Paints in Suva, Dulux Paints National Sales and Marketing manager in Suva.
I am currently the ceo of FCDL.

2. Can you tell us a bit about your role at FCDL?
My role as chief executive officer is to look after the strategic management of the organisation.
Whilst we are a private company, the decision made affects over 250 dairy farmers and the entire dairy industry as a whole. As such I have developed the aptitude to understand the political and cultural environment and acting with the ambit.
We have different sections one is finance and admin section the other is farmers’ services section. I look after the entire operations of the organisation.
I macro managed the two different sections.
FCDL was formed after the restructure of the dairy industry, we were shifted to Manoca and thanks to Government.
Our team at FCDL have built this institution up since 2012 and we have built it up to a multimillion dollar entity.

A team leader
A team is important in delivering services to the stakeholders and a good leader is instrumental in developing the team.
All organisation where I have served in has had a lot of emphasis on team building.
At FCDCL, I have worked on developing and leading a team to deliver the required outcomes.
My work as a leader did not only involve strategic focus but working with the team on the ground to deliver the results.
Team building exercise at FCDCL are both a formal and informal process.
It provides a good opportunity to finding solutions to problems faced by the team, improving interpersonal relationships, refocussing on goals and aligning activities to work towards achieving goals.
Strong leadership and effective team has enabled FCDCL to grow significantly in the last five years and improve in its service delivery.

3. You said there was a continuing fall in milk production. Can you elaborate on this?
The industry has been affected by a disease called Bovine tuberculosis, which has seen a lot of animals been culled.
We have have lost 4000 to 5000 animals and that’s a huge loss to the industry.
If you lose 45 per cent of your stock in the dairy industry (milking cows) you are bound to have a decline in milk production. That is not only the reason why there has been a decline in milk production.
The other is the equitable price of raw milk.
The cost of a litre of raw milk has increased.
Prior to 2012, the industry was paid $1 per litre (VEP) after August 2012 the price paid to the industry decreased to 87cents a litre, a 13 per cent decrease in raw milk price.
Just in June last year the price of raw milk increased by five per cent which is 92 cents now.
This is still far short from what we were initially paid in 2012 when production was really improving. Unless and until our farmers get a just and equitable price for raw milk the production is going to decrease because the farmers find it very difficult to invest in the dairy industry.
For example, we have done a study and what we have found out is the cost of producing a litre of raw is between $1-$1.05 a litre.
The industry is now requesting for a $1.10 a litre that would a price to encourage our farmers to come on board and invest in the industry to do proper fencing, partial development, invest in a dairy shed, invest in things that will increase efficiency and increase output.
The Government is doing a lot and investing money for the dairy industry, this year multimillion dollars are invested probably $1 million to FCDL another 1million to Ministry of agriculture and $1m to the Bovine tuberculosis programme and other programmes. There is a lot of money pumped into the industry.
Fiji needs a lot of milk so whatever shortfall we have is being compensated by imported milk.
The only way to reduce imports is if our farmers can get a feasible price.
Like any businessman you only invest in your business if you are making money.
We have 265 farmers registered but not all of them are active.
The active ones would be around 230 farmers.
All farmers under FCDL are registered under the insurance scheme, its blanket cover provided to the farmers from the January 1, 2018.
The dairy farmers insurance package had been made possible by the engagement of FCDCL with the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and FijiCare Insurance Limited for their hard work and support of this landmark initiative.

4. You assumed a number of senior roles and responsibilities. How has taking such positions molded you to become the FCDL ceo?
Having experience in different fields develops your management approach and I have been told the best way to manage a business is to manage your team well.
You look after the team they will look after the performance of the company and that has been core in how our operate.
We work as team in the office if you see that we have an open door policy, my door is always open and never closed.
We work hard from 8am to 5pm we discuss issues and decisions are not unilaterally made.
It’s a team involvement. FCDL is a farmer owned institution and our customers are farmers also so a lot of times they demand working profit from us.
Now the only way to get a working profit from our shareholders if I charge my shareholders more.
Because my farmers are my customers.
We are concentrating on the service delivery at the moment, improve our service, improve our outreach programmes to our farmers, and later improve on our profitability.
FCDL is also now trying to embark on commercial activities.
We are focused on service delivery.
Service comes first.

5.Could you talk about some events that influenced you to become what you are today?
I have a management and agriculture background but being accepted was a big thing when I started in 2012.
I had to prove myself to our dairy farmers that yes whilst I know how to manage a business and manage a team I also have knowledge of the dairy industry.
I am still learning today after being thrown in the deep end in the dairy industry and learning the tricks of the trade in FCDL.
Learning to swim and come to shore which mens self-development is the biggest factor if you want to succeed in any position.
Learn from your friends and farmers.
Being given a responsibility, we have come along way now since 2012.
This should not be an industry that has to be looked down upon.
It has the potential to improve provided all stakeholders work together.

6. What are your current goals?
My current goal is to stabilise the decline in the raw milk production it’s not because we are not doing our work or key stakeholders but it’s because of Bovine tuberculosi is not under anyone’s control.
It has happened and the only way to deal with it is through culling and we can’t blame anyone at the moment.
We need to work together and address the decline once its addressed then we can look into improving the production.
The second goal is to get farmers to start breeding the replacement stock and the only way that can happen is through artificial breeding and through very good calf rearing programme.
We are getting some of our farmers to start commercial calf rearing so that we can develop the replacement stock and also
Third goal is to enter into commercial ventures so that we can start giving farmers returns.
Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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