Facts about the case:
· Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative Limited (IFFCO) is the world’s largest fertiliser cooperative federation based in India.
· It proposes to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
· The total project area is 1023 Hectares which will cover villages Regadichelika, Racharlapadu, Chowduputtedu, Uchaguntapalem, North Ammuluru, Bodduvaripalem; Mandals Kodavaluru, Dagadharthi and Allur in Nellore district.
· This land was acquired 15 years ago at very low price by IFFCO to set up a Naphtha based fertilizer plant in Nellore.
· IFFCO Kisan SEZ Ltd. is being setup as an Agribusiness Special Economic Zone based on the concept of Integrated Agropark.
· Kisan SEZ has requested the government for stamp duty exemption, exemption fee for conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose and exemption from holding land more than the ceiling.
The mega dairy project-
· A mega dairy is proposed as a part of the SEZ. IFFCO is the main proponent of this dairy.
· It proposes to develop an intensive dairy through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) consisting of IFFCO Kisan SEZ-Fonterra-Global Dairy Health consortium.
· IFFCO Kisan SEZ is a fully own subsidiary of IFFCO.
· Global Dairy Health is an Indian company interested in enhancing milk production by establishing large scale integrated milk production systems around the world.
· Fonterra is a New Zealand based dairy company and is world’s leading exporter of dairy products.
· The proposal is to set up a modern integrated mega dairy farm with 40,000 cows at one place.
· 9,000 Holstein Friesian & Jersey breed pregnant cows with yield of 30 – 35 litres of milk per cow per day will be imported in the next 3 years in batches of 3000 cows each.
· 31,000 cows of local breeds such as Gir, Sahiwal, Deoni, Tharparker and Ongole will also be added to this dairy.
· Along with the pregnant cows, 20,000 doses of semen (sexed and regular) and 5000 doses of embryos will also be imported.
· The proposed plan in India is to build the prototype of Fonterra’s intensive dairy model in China (Tangshan)
· The milk from Fonterra’s dairy in China is responsible for death of 13 infants due to contaminated milk.
Issues of concern:
• Conflicting with Directive Principles of State Policy
• Animals kept within such a system are highly stressed, unable to express necessary natural behaviour such as grazing, grouping, exercising, and forming bonds.
• Animals kept at high stocking densities are more likely to contract diseases. Additionally, there is an increased likelihood of the emergence of novel zoonotic diseases.
• Genetically manipulated high yielding cows such as the proposed imported breed have shortened lives, reduced fertility, greater propensity for disease, and physiological and development problems.
• Animals kept within an intensive system have a high likelihood of enduring injuries such as leg and foot lameness and mastitis.
• The adaptability of imported cows to the climate of Nellore is of particular concern as this will increase stress in the animals.
• Calves may be removed from the mother before natural weaning; the fate of male calves is also a significant question.
• The cows with natural span of 10-12 years become dry in average 6 years in mega dairy operations. This can lead to unending problem of stray animals.
• Cow slaughter and transportation for slaughter results in additional welfare implications.
• Threat to native cow breeds.
• Effect on cooperative system
• Violation of provisions of Andhra Pradesh Cow Protection Act
• Past experience: Andhra Pradesh imported 300 cattle from Australia about a decade ago for breeding purposes. However, import of animals from Australia was unfortunate. These animals were suffering from diseases and had to be quarantined where they died.