Around 700,000 farmers in Mathura could well have a new customer for the milk produced by their cattle.

Food major Nestle is keen to source milk from the UP town for its eight manufacturing facilities, which churn out everything from ghee and condensed milk to cheese and chocolate bars.

The Swiss firm’s first dairy, set up in 1961 to collect local milk at Moga, Punjab, changed the face of the region, with the State registering a 50-fold increase in milk production.

Mathura’s farmers now want in on the action.

“Nestle has been keen to build capacity in the region. Given the limitations in the milk-supply chain in Mathura, the company has been advised to look at procuring milk to make cheese and ghee,” says Satyan Mishra, Founder and Managing Director of Drishtee, a social enterprise that works with communities in rural India.

Nestle India teamed up with Drishtee to create a rural supply-chain network five years ago and sell its products.

A Nestle India official declined to participate in this story.

“The Mathura region is rich in dairy products,” says Mishra. “Given that it is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and is famous for the Mathura peda, the region has milk overflowing in most farms.

“More than 70 per cent of Mathura’s farmers either own a cow, a buffalo or a goat. The total cattle population is over 10 lakh. Farmers in Mathura can stand to benefit as the farmers in Punjab have,” says Mishra.

What started in 1961 as a small collective for Nestle India, with 180 local farmers supplying milk in Moga, has grown to over 110,000 dairy farmers today.

The Swiss food and beverages company’s Punjab factory procures milk worth Rs 700 crore annually.