White Revolution

 
Shri Lal Bahadur Shasri, Prime Minister of India, visited Anand on 31st October 1964 for inauguration of the Cattle Feed Factory of Amul at Kanjari. As he was keenly interested in knowing the success of this co-operative, spent a whole night with farmers in a village, even had dinner with a farmer discusses his wish to Mr Verghese Kurien, then the General Manager of Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd (Amul) to replicate this model to other parts of the country for improving the socio-economic conditions of farmers. As a result of this visit, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was established at Anand in 1965 and by 1970 it launches the dairy development programme for India – popularly known as Operation Flood.

Following is the reproduction of the letter the Prime Minister wrote to the Governors of all the Sates, The Chief Ministers of all the States and All he Cabinet Minister of the Central Government after his visit to Amul D.O.letter No.2280/PMO/64 dated 2nd December 1964 Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, Prime Minister of India

As you are perhaps aware, I visited the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union , Anand (Gujarat) better known as “Amul” in the end of October last with a view to inaugurating their new cattle feed compound factory. Through this letter, I propose to share with you what I saw there and its importance in the context of the programme envisaged for the establishment of a co-operative dairies all over the country during the Fourth Plan.

The Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union was organized in 1946 with the blessings of the late Sardar Vallabhai Patel. It started with two village milk producers’ societies and began pasteurizing milk fro the Bombay Milk Scheme in June 1948. At that time, only 250 liters of milk per day was being handled. As against this, 378 village milk producers’ co-operative societies are at present affiliated to the main union. These societies in turn have about 65,000 farmers as their members. In these villages, there are about 1, 25,000 adult buffaloes of the Surti Breed. During the year 63-64 about 60,000 tonnes of milk was collected by the union. The cost of the milk and milk products sold in that year was over Rs.6 crores. The Union markets milk in Gujarat and Maharashtra States and milk products on all-India basis. Its trade name “Amul” has become a household word all over India. The union has established an excellent reputation in the dairy industry and has evoked the admiration of experts from many parts of the world.

Apart from the technical efficiency of its processing units, the union’s most striking achievements have been in the socio-economic field. By establishing a steady and remunerative market for the milk that is produced throughout the year, this union has given the farmers an incentive to adopt scientific practices of animal husbandry to produce more milk with lower cost of production and thereby to further increase their income.

The union has a seven-year plan for doubling milk production, which envisages a comprehensive programme of animal breeding, animal nutrition, and animal health and hygiene, livestock marketing and extension work on scientific lines. Thus, the union is based really on rural economy and the benefits go back to the farmers, thereby gradually raising the general level of the dairy industry and also the standard of living of the farmers.

Besides the production and marketing of milk and milk products, the Kaira Union provides technical advice to other milk schemes and to organizations interested in dairy schemes. It trains personnel for the various milk schemes in the country. The Government of India (Ministry of Community Development and Cooperation) propose to organize very shortly a National Federation of Dairy Cooperatives with head quarters at Anand, so that with support of technical experts of the Kaira Union at vigorous programme for establishing dairy cooperatives in the country could be taken up.

The importance of milk and milk products in providing nutritious food to the country cannot be over emphasized. There is also considerable scope for improvement in our methods of livestock breeding and nutrition. For this purpose we envisage a large programme of setting up cooperative dairies during the Fourth Plan and this will, no doubt, be based on the Anand model. If we can transplant the spirit of Anand in many other places, it will also result in rapidly transforming the socio-economic conditions of the rural areas and in our achieving the objective of a socialistic pattern of society.

Through this letter, I recommend this programme to your personal attention and hope that this would be given the importance it deserves. I am requesting Shri S.K. Dey, the Union Minister for Community Devep. And Cooperation, to pursue this matter with you and to give you any further details that you may wish to know.

OPERATION FLOOD
The National Dairy Development Board in 1969 designed a dairy development programme to lay the foundation for a viable, self-supportive national dairy industry. The programme sought to link rural milk production to urban milk marketing through these cooperatives.

In July 1970 with technical assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the programme was launched as Operation Flood (OF).

Dr Kurien ever unwilling to accept anything that sounded soul-less, renamed the cumbersome title of WFP Project India 618, Milk Marketing and Dairy Development as OPERATION FLOOD had just that touch of aggressive movement so dear to his heart.

Operation Flood-I sought to establish 18 “Anands” linked to the four urban markets – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. These funds were generated from gifted commodities received from the United Nation’s World Food Programme – 126,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder and 42,000 tonnes of butter oil over project period. The commodities were recombined as liquid milk and sold in these cities at prevailing market price that went in for building the cooperative dairies under the programme, while capturing the urban market for rurally produced milk.

To route the gifted commodities and funds under OF, the Government of India set up the Indian Dairy Corporation (IDC) in 1970 which was later merged with NDDB in 1987, by an Act of Parliament. (the NDDB Act 1987).

By focusing on producers with small resource bases – animal and land holdings in potential milksheds, Operation Flood strived to generate a flood of milk in the rural areas and create a flow into the cities. This flow was sustained by linking milk production to its marketing through modern processing facilities. The major advantage of taking milk and not cattle from villages into cities was the convenient, economic and scientific management of the milk animals in milksheds through improved breeding, feeding and health care practices.

The Prime Objective of OF-II was to establish a modern and self sustaining dairy industry, building on the foundation of OF-I to meet the nations’s needs in milk and milk products. For OF-II, donated commodities were received directly from the European Economic Community (EEC) – 186,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder and 76,000 tonnes of butter oil. Financially supported by money generated by the sale of these commodities as recombined milk, a soft loan of US$150 million from the World Bank and he internal resources of the Indian Dairy Corporation, OF-II covered 150 milksheds. To link these milksheds to the city market and ensure a year-round sustained milk supply, the National Milk Grid with storage and long-distance transport facilities was created.

The Third Phase of Operation Flood focused on consolidating the milk procurement, processing and marketing infrastructure created under OF-I & OF-II. OF-III was funded from the internal resources of NDDB as well as through a World Bank loan/credit of US$365 million and proceeds from the sales of EEC gifted dairy commodities.
 
SALIENT FEATURES OF OPERATION FLOOD
Features OF-I OF-II OF-III
Period July 1, 1970 to March 31, 1981 October 2, 1979 to March 31, 1985 April 1, 1985 to April 30, 1996
Number of Milksheds covered 39 136 170
Number of Anand Pattern DCSs set up (‘000) 13.3 34.5 72.7
Number of Members (in million) 1.8 3.6 9.3
Average Milk Procurement (Million Kg Per Day) 2.6 5.8 10.9
Processing Capacity in Rural Dairies (Million Ltrs Per Day) 3.8 8.8 18.1
Drying Capacity (Metric Tons Per Day) 261.0 508.0 842.0
Liquid Milk Marketing (Million Ltrs Per Day) 2.8 5.0 9.9
Operation Flood has made the country self sufficient in milk and milk products through modernization of our dairy industry. More important, being a small-producer oriented programme, it has impacted positively on income, employment and nutrition status of milk producing households. The rural families targeted under this programme were ones with small resource base – both animal and land holdings. Over 70 per cent of the families possessed only two milch animals or less; 21 per cent families were landless and 66 percent were small and marginal farmers owning less than four ha of land.
 
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