Dairy for a Cause
When Matt Dawes saw that there was a market for organic milk, he started a dairy targeting a niche market. This created a buzz, and helped grow the niche.
Three years ago, Matt Dawes opened a guest house in Patan and had a small café attached to it. Soon the fact that organic milk wasn’t readily available in Nepal caught his attention. This led him to start a cooperative to produce and sell organic milk.
His first targets were UN and foreign embassy staffers looking for organic products. But eventually their customer base grew and now Milkmandu has about 500 local customers. “We originally didn’t start with our own cows. We found local farmers who were raising cows in an organic way and created a co-operative. We started with three cows, but now we have 10 cows and six buffaloes,” says Matt. “I personally did not receive any training. We have hired experts with the proper training, as one of the goals of Milkmandu is to benefit local farmers.”
Milkmandu uses only morning milk (a mixture of cow and buffalo milk) which contains a higher level of fat content and protein than regular milk. It also follows procedures to heat the milk to a temperature beyond the normal pasteurization temperature to kill bacteria in the milk. But the challenge has been to not to overheat it — destroying proteins and essential vitamins.
These procedures enhance the nutritional value as well as the taste of the milk. The milk is then cooled to around 1-5 degrees Celsius (with the help of ice packs).
“We sell around 150 liters of milk daily. Currently, our production is limited by the number of cattle that we have but we are currently building a farm for 40 cows,” states Matt.
Milkmandu ensures that milk is not extracted from sick animals. Matt and his employees preserve the consistent quality of the milk by cleaning and sterilizing pots and equipment during the processing of the milk.
The company also sells cheese and butter, but only through orders. “Milk is delivered every morning between 6:30 and 8:30 once customers place orders online or by email,” explains the owner.
The profit from the dairy goes towards a fund setup to support 75 children and 12 women living at Mercy Mission Children’s in Kusunti. “Milkmandu is committed to supporting the orphanage/school. Our long term goal is to provide funding or jobs to the children from that home.”
As for the expansion of their company, Matt Dawes is already getting on it. “Absolutely! Milkmandu is rapidly expanding. People are already preordering large quantities of milk anticipating the inauguration of our new farm.”