Bangalore, Jan 17 (Agencies): As the second largest milk producer after Gujarat in India, Karnataka is eying the large Indian diaspora to promote dairy exports and make a mark in overseas markets with a range of ethnic sweet from Mysore pak to peda.

"We are getting a lot of enquiries from countries across southeast Asia,far East,West Asia and north Africa for our export quality milk and dairy products, as Indian expatriates living there want to savour ethnic sweets," state-run Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) Chairman G Somashekara Reddy Said.

Encouraged by the growing response from Singapore where four containers of 18,000 litres each of milk are shipped every month and export of skimmed milk powder in sizeable quantities to Philippines and Thailand,the federation is holding talks with dairy importers in Sri Lanka,Japan,outh Korea,the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to export its products.

"As our commitment is to first meet the local demand and that in the neighbouring states,we are targeting the collection of seven million litres of milk per day over the next five years from the current 4.2 million litres daily to export the surplus milk and milk-based products,"Reddy said on the margins of an event to mark the harvest festival Makara Sankranti which was on last Saturday.

With 65 percent market share in the state,the Federation sells around three million litres of milk per day and processes the remaining 1.2 million litres for export.

For catering to new export markets, the federation this year is setting up a dedicated mega dairy in this tech hub with a capacity of one million litres per day at an estimated cost of Rs.90 crore ($19 million) and an exclusive processing unit to roll out a variety of dairy products especially ethnic sweets which are in great demand among the Indian diaspora in Asia as well as in Africa.

The state-run National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and the state Govtwill have 30 percent equity stake each in the new plant which will be located adjacent to the first mega dairy in the city that is catering to Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries. The federation will contribute the remaining 40 percent of the equity.

Cow milk is packed in a six-layered tamper proof tetrapak brick after treating it in ultra high temperature (UHT) for four seconds and then cooled to room temperature to ensure longer shelf life and maintain quality.

According to KMF marketing director Ravi Kumar Kakde, the UHT process involves heating milk for four seconds at 137 degrees Celsius in a closed,pre-sterilised system.

"The high temperature boiling enables the process to kill all bacteria in milk while preserving all its nutrients. Milk also undergoes a special homogenisation process to ensure its fat content (3.5 percent) is retained uniformly," Kakde noted.

The federation exports the ready-to-drink milk under its famous Nandini Good Life brand, with 180 days (six months) shelf life and needs no refrigeration until opened.

Among its ethnic sweets, which are also marketed under the Nandini label, the state's famous Mysore Pak is the most sought after by expatriates.

About 50 percent of the 27-million strong Indian diaspora in over 150 countries are located in the Asian and African regions, with a majority of them in the Gulf and Southeast Asia.

"As ethnic sweets and other dairy products are milk-based and hence perishable, stringent hygienic standards are maintained to ensure their flavour and quality are retained without preservatives," Kakde asserted.

Besides Mysore Pak, the federation makes assorted sweets, including dry fruit burfi, khova jamoon, rosogolla and sugar-free peda for domestic and export markets.

Cheddar cheese, paneer (cottage cheese), yoghurt and cream are among 50 products processed by the federation for local and overseas markets.

The federation works with 13 milk producers' cooperative societies across the state, with about a million members, including marginal farmers and self-help groups headed mostly by women.

During June-February, the federation also supplies milk and dairy products to the Indian Army and the Border Security Force.

Reddy, a legislator of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party from the rich mining district of Bellary in north Karnataka, is the younger brother of the two Reddy ministers - G. Karunakara (revenue) and G. Janardhan (infrastructure and tourism) - in the first government of the party in the state.