Dudhsagar Dairy
Mehsana District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd.

The Second Milk Revolution

The Second Milk Revolution
TIME to take stock.Time to make a move. Time to make a mark.Time for another manthan. Time for a Second White Revolution Dr V Kurien, the Father of the White Revolution, rated the farmers of India as its greatest asset. He felt, if rural India is to progress, dairy farming could be the most cost effective way. Unlike in the advanced dairying nations where milk is produced in bulk (mass production) by rich farmers, in India it is produced by the masses consisting of a large number of small and marginal farmers and even landless labourers.

Thanks to ‘Operation Flood’, conceived and implemented successfully under the visionary leadership of late Dr. Kurien, since 1998, India is the largest milk consuming as well as milk producing country in the world. In 2013-14, India’s milk production touched 140 million tonnes, far surpassing the total of the EU countries. As such, the annual growth is at about six per cent, which is well over double that of the global production growth.

The ‘Amul Model’ is acclaimed the world over as the best model for dairying by small and marginal farmers. It empowers the farmers socially, politically and economically. The Amul pattern of procurement, processing and marketing has been replicated all over India. There are more than 14 million cooperative milk producers in India under the Amul Model. The beauty of the Amul Model is that there are no middlemen in the entire value chain of milk, from production to procurement to processing, and most importantly, in marketing. The entire value chain is controlled by the milk producers themselves, and therefore, more than 80% of the consumer rupee is given back to the farmer-producers.

Today milk is the one single agricultural commodity that is contributing the maximum to the nation’s GDP. There tremendous potential for India to increase its milk production and even become dairy to the world. Given a conducive atmosphere the farmers of our country can do wonders as they have successfully demonstrated in the past through the Green and White revolutions. A Second Milk Revolution can be ushered in, if some policy decisions are taken and implemented. It can generate large scale self-employment activities in the rural areas, besides of course, increasing the per capita availability of milk, increasing nutrition and promoting better health.

Setting the stage for a second white revolution is Vipul Chaudhary, Chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy, Mehsana, and former chairman of GCMMF. Chaudhary believes, “the players in the dairy industry have all been Dr Kurien, theAmul pattern co-operatives and the NDDB. The NDDB should re-invent itself and follow the cooperative strategy for dairy development”. To formulate draft policies for future dairy development, Chaudhary had organised a National Meet at Gandhinagar, following which a set of policy recommendations for rapid dairy development were finalised and submitted to policy makers. They mainly included suggestions to stimulating milk production, providing rural employment for sustainable livelihood, facilitating inclusive growth, contributing even more to the nation’s GDP and earning large foreign exchange by increased exports of dairy products, etc. One of the key recommendations was to declare milk as an agricultural crop so that the benefits available to agriculture become available to dairying also.

Amul is the Taste of India. It has in place a set up that it can make milk and milk products available nationwide with the least cost, while retaining the competitive edge. Says Vipul Chaudhary, “The time has come for making Amul a national co-operative, so that it can help other dairy cooperatives who need help. Perhaps, we need to create a fourth tier in the Amul Model to accommodate the dairy coope cooperatives in other States which may wish to be associated with Amul for mutual benefits. Another important aspect is building of a national milk grid. Expertise of Amul Federation should be availed to implement the national milk grid. The milk grid can link India’s dairy cooperatives with the major cities where cold storages shall be built just as there are storages for wheat and rice. Amul should be converted on the lines of FCI, IFFCO and Kribhco.

According to Chaudhary, “Amul has to become a national dairy brand. An umbrella brand at a national level will give Amul Federation enough room for helping other smaller cooperatives. Else, in the coming days with other MNCs and the WTO interventions, the market will become too open for the smaller co-operatives to withstand competition.”

The dairy industry deserves better treatment and impetus to grow rapidly. If milk is declared as an agriculture crop, it will pave the way for easy access to credits and loans. At present, though dairying is an allied agricultural activity, the benefits available to agriculture are not available to dairying. This has kept many rural people, especially the youth, away from dairying. There is an urgent need to make dairying more profitable. It can also be achieved through focused attention on scientific and commercial dairy farming.

Another recommendation is to make milk a part of the mid-day meal scheme, especially now that milk is available in tetra packs, and Amul-Moti pouch, which has a shelf life of 90 days under normal room temperature. It will add to the nutritious value of the meal besides increasing milk production. Some other recommendations made are, setting up of dairy technology institutes and rural management institutes as also including dairying as part of MNREGA to empower women. Another important recommendation is to treat the cooperatives as a priority sector. Co-operatives have to be given the freedom to function without undue interference, says Chaudhary.

As far as villages and rural households are concerned, rearing cows and buffaloes is a way of life. While India is the largest milk producing nation in the world, the productivity of milch animals is far from satisfactory. Dairying in India is predominantly a subsidiary agricultural occupation of farmers, especially women. Many of the milk producers being poor, the main feed for the animals is agricultural waste, and therefore, productivity of animals remains poor. According to Chaudhary, the more we can concentrate on breeds of cattle, the more we can increase milk production. Chaudhary is also considering to import sex semen technology. Through sexing technology, it is possible to get only female calf with 93% accuracy. Gujarat is still not the number 1 milk producing state of the nation. Chaudhary believes, Gujarat has the potential to become the leader in dairying.

Continues Chaudhary, “What hurts the most is that there is no healthy and fair competition. Unfortunately, NDDB has focused on going solo, moving away from the cooperative strategy for dairy development, leading to a disconnect between NDDB and other dairy cooperatives. NDDB has to return to the mandate given to it by the NDDB Act of Parliament, i.e. the cooperative strategy for dairy development,

So what is the way out? Chaudhary feels, “The solution to everything is churning. Debates and discussions are the only way out to find a solution. There is a question mark scenario from which we need to get out. In the zeal to do more business the basic ideology is being ignored. With the new set of cooperative bye-laws in place, a fresh and revamped model code has to be followed. With some key policy initiatives from the part of the government, there is a great potential for a second white revolution.”

Finally, he says, “in general, industrialisation has to happen, urbanisation is going to happen. This is a universal phenomenon. The number of dairy farmers is to go down and the number of consumers is to increase. Yet, this business has the brightest prospect than ever before and is improving day by day.

Within the Amul-fold, Dudhsagar Dairy, Mehsana has been the leader. It is India’s largest co-operative dairy. The Mehsana Union has five dairies under its fold, and has the largest milk processing capacity in the country. And Mehsana is soon going to become the ‘dairy capital of the country”, Chaudhary added.

With all odds stacked in favour, a second white revolution in the next five years appears quite possible. This would perhaps be the best way to pay tribute to the Milkman of India, and at the same time try to fill the vacuum he has left behind.

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Dudhsagar Patrika is a magazine published by Dudhsagar Dairy which provides activity updates of Dudhsagar Dairy and learning on Dairy Farming, Cattle Feed, Animal Husbandry, Women Empowerment etc.


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Mehsana District Co-operative Milk Producers' Union Ltd.
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