History Of The Organization

Sundarban region is located in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal in India. Sundarbans is also the World’s largest mangrove forest and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area has high floral and faunal diversity. Sundarban is known for being the home to the Royal Bengal Tiger and is one of the most touristic destinations in India where the holy Ganga river through its hundreds of tributaries meets the Bay of Bengal.

In Sundarban, people live in the riverine islands which are generally low lying land masses with challenging geographical conditions. The livelihood of the rural families includes paddy cultivation during Kharif season, fishing, forest honey collection, dairying, and backyard poultry. The area is resource poor and 34% of people are below poverty line and 33% are from backward communities (schedule castes and tribes). Because of limited livelihood opportunities, the rural men folk generally migrate to Kolkata city and other urban areas of India forwork.

In this backdrop, Sundarban Cooperative Milk & Livestock Producers’ Union Limited was registered in 1997 and started functioning. But due to geographical challenges and difficult situations, the Sundarban Cooperative functioned seasonally for about 4-6 months in a year. In the Coop, there was no proper operational system in the organization and thus Sundarban Coop got fully closed in 2014.

In November 2015, with active guidance from the South 24 Parganas District Administration, South 24 Parganas Zilla Parishadand technical support from the National Dairy Development Board, the Sundarban Coop stared its revival with renewed vigour and determination to develop an all women Dairy Producers’ Cooperative with the principles: opening of 100% women societies, 100% testing of every milk sample and 100% payment in individual Bank Account of producer members, by ensuring only women secretary and staff in the societies and plant workers at the village level.

Organizational Setting

Sundarban Cooperative Milk and Livestock Producers’ Union Ltd. is a producer cooperative affiliated to West Bengal Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd. and is governed by West Bengal Cooperative Societies Act 2006 and West Bengal Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Act, 2011. Sundarban Coop was established in the year 1997 with its registered office at New Administrative Building, 8th Floor, Collectorate Campus, Alipore, Kolkata – 700027, West Bengal in India. The operational area of the Cooperative is South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. The District Magistrate & Collector, South 24 Parganas acts as Special Officer of the organization.

Sundarban Coop is working for empowerment of small and marginalized women farmers engaged in dairy, other livestock, agriculture and honey collection in the Sundarban region. The brand name of Sundarban Coop is ‘Sundarini,’ and the name was given by the Honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal in October, 2015.

Mission

  • Empowerment of small and marginalized women farmers engaged in dairy and other livestock and agriculture farming in the Sundarban region.
  • Procurement of most of the agricultural produce of farmers in addition to milk, viz. indigenous rice, pulses, forest honey etc. at DCS to arrest exploitation by middle-men and stop distress selling by farmers.
  • Protection of ecologically challenged Sundarban area through chemical-free organic initiative and thereby being the first Organic Milk & Livestock Union of India.
  • Availability of quality and hygienic food to the consumers.
  • Quality life of the farmers and their children.
  • Doubling of the income of our farmers by 2020.

Major Milestones

October 2015 ‘Sundarini’ brand name given by Honorable Chief Minister of West Bengal
November 2015 Sundarban Coop re-started as all women cooperative by starting milk procurement
May 2016 Decision to promote indigenous cattle among producer members
June 2016 Initiated ‘One Farmer – One Fodder Plot’ campaign
August 2016 25 village level women dairy cooperative societies established
December 2016 Plastic Free milk & Livestock products procurement value chain
May 2017 50 village level women dairy cooperative societies established
June 1, 2017 On the eve of World Milk Day, women members decided to Go Organic and be the first organic dairy coop of India
June 2018 Awarded Innovative Organization by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) of India
June 2018 Awarded INR 25 Lakhs for women empowerment by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) of India
July 2018 Started Bank Micro ATM facility at Women Dairy Cooperative Society building for opening of bank account, producer payments and other banking services
July 2018 Started Bank Micro ATM facility at Women Dairy Cooperative Society building for opening of bank account, producer payments and other banking services
July 2018 Initiated promoting of Bio Gas plants at household level for proper utilization of cow dung/manure and thereby organic farming
July 27, 2018 Stone laying of Model Society building at Chowrangee Society by Honorable Chairman of NDDB
July 27, 2018 Inauguration of comprehensive automated procurement cum payment software (AMCS) developed by NDDB in Sundarban Coop
August 2018 World Bank Officials and Executive Director of National Dairy Development Board, India visited Sundarban Coop to see the activities
October 2018 Vice-President of IFOAM Organics International, Germany visited Sundarban Coop to see the operations
December 2018 Launched indigenous sweets under brand name of Sundarini by Honorable Chief Minister of West Bengal, India
January 2019 Initiated training of women farmer members on organic farming by Dr.Sarvadaman Patel at Bhai Kaka Krishi Kendra, Anand, Gujarat
February 2019 75 village level women dairy cooperative societies established
February 2019 Scope Certificates for Third Party Organic Certification received as per India’s National Programme for Organic Production Standards (NPOP)
April 2019 First Sundarini Naturals Sweet Shop was opened in Kolkata city
May 2019 Special mention of Honor by 2019 Organic Medal of Honor by Xichong International Organic Innovation Summit, China and IFOAM Asia
December 2019 Sundarini Naturals Sweet counter opened at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata