Junagadh: A2 cow milk, preference of which is gradually picking up in households for its immense health benefits, could become a money-churner for farmers who own cows of this particular genes.
Beginning next month, the Junagadh Agriculture University (JAU) will start commercially certifying that a bovine contains A2, thereby giving farmers a stamp of approval for this variety which is considered healthier than the A1 gene cows. In absence of official certification, farmers could not make a case for getting prices for A2 milk, which costs almost double than the conventional cow milk.
JAU has tested over 400 bovines over past two years and developed a method to check A1 and A2 gene cows with a simple blood test. This is the first time in the state that a formal system has been devised to certify A2 gene cow. A2-certified milk can fetch up to Rs 80 per litre, which is almost double that of the A1 type. The test results come out within 24 hours.
Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets brand Amul, has already started selling cow milk with specific labelling of A2 variety.
Dr Shraddha Bhatt, assistant professor of biotechnology at JAU, said, “In past 25 years, Brazil has developed pure breed of Indian cows and doesn’t allow crossbreeding and maintains a pure line. However, we don’t have our pure breed cows and that is why we have adopted cross-breeding. This makes the new method to identify A2 gene all the more important for farmers to decide on breeding.”
“The trend of A2 cow milk consumption is catching up in India after awareness about its health benefits. Amul also mentions on milk pouches that it contains A2 milk,” she said.
JAU also claims to be ready for inviting samples from all over the country. “Only pure native cows like Gir and Kankrej contain A2 gene while Holstein Friesian (HF) and cross-breed cows contain A1 gene,” said Bhatt.
Amul currently sells 1 lakh litres of cow milk per day in Gujarat. GCMMF managing director R S Sodhi said, “The sale of A2 variety is limited in India and people also don’t prefer the taste of cow milk. Of our total sales, cow milk consists just 5-6%. Also, it is costlier. Therefore, less people prefer it.”
Assistant professor Rukamsinh Tomar, who also worked on this project, said, “All the native cows in India yield A2 milk and they have a hump. But the crossbred cows whose back is flat give A1 milk.”
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