Lucknow-based milk production and procurement company Samridhi Agri Products Pvt Ltd has tied up with Upaya Social Ventures to set up community dairies in Uttar Pradesh that will help create jobs and stabilise the income for families living under poor economic conditions, according to a company statement on Friday.

The company has not disclosed the terms of the deal but said that the equity investment is within the parameters that Upaya has determined for its LiftUP Project partnership.

“Upaya is thrilled to be working with Samridhi Agri Products as we believe that their innovative model, experience with the local dairy industry and passion for creating sustainable change will ensure Samridhi’s success,” said Upaya executive director Sachi Shenoy.

“With the majority of Uttar Pradesh’s ultra-poor dependent on farming as their main occupation, these dairies have the potential to bring stability and prosperity to the communities where they are needed most,” added Shenoy.

Samridhi is the first partner to join Upaya’s Life-changing Interventions for the Ultra Poor (LiftUP) Project, a 24-36 month social business accelerator programme that provides seed funding and strategic guidance for the development and growth of early-stage, ultra-poor-focused social enterprises.

Under this deal, Samridhi’s dairy units will create 93 jobs, and every job will provide a woman with a guaranteed paycheque. Employees will also receive training and participate in all stages of the production process including collection, quality testing, cooling and distribution, the company has said.

“The dairy industry in Uttar Pradesh is largely driven by small-holder farmers who account for a significant portion of the region’s total milk production, but have no control over pricing,” said Samridhi co-founder and promoter Lokesh Singh.

“As our first investor, Upaya is giving us the opportunity to create dairy industry jobs for hundreds of women in poor communities and thus improve the market for local farmers,” he added.

Upaya Social Ventures is a not-for-profit organisation, building businesses which will create jobs and improve the quality of life for the ultra-poor. The organisation achieves its goals in two ways – by supporting the growth of start-up social enterprises through the LiftUP Project business accelerator and consulting with established organisations on innovative projects that target deeply impoverished communities.

Incorporated in 2009, Samridhi Agri Products works to enhance the productive capacity of rural producers by providing sustainable small scale business solutions, in a socially responsible manner. Through its new dairy initiative, Samridhi is promoting sustainable employment opportunities for the rural and the semi-urban poor, primarily by filling the gaps in the dairy value chain.

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