AMUL : THE TASTE OF INDIA
BY GUDDU SINGH
Amul, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), has become the first Indian dairy brand to make a place in the global top 20 list released by Rabobank. Rabobank has placed Amul in the 16th position with an annual turnover of $5.5 billion.
In this achievement, RS Sodhi, Managing Director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (Amul), thanked the Gujarat government for supporting 36 lacs farmers during the hard times.
Speaking at an online dialogue organized by ALL INDIA MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION (AIMA), RS Sodhi said that the dairy sector can give a significant boost to the employment generation in the country. This sector would alone create 1.2crore new jobs over the next 10 years. Sodhi added saying that INDIA produces 21% of the milk in the world and INDIA’S milk market was growing at 5%, compared to the 1.8% growth in the global milk market.
HISTORY OF “ANAND PATTERN"
The story of the cooperative movement of INDIA, however, cannot be completed without the description of the most successful experiment in cooperation in INDIA. This experiment in KAIRA (also called KHEDA) district of Gujarat eventually became the harbinger of the “WHITE REVOLUTION “ that spread all over INDIA.
Peasants of Kaira district, which supplied milk to the city of Bombay (Mumbai), felt cheated by the milk traders and approached Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for a solution. He advised them to get rid of the middleman and form their own co-operative, which would have procurement, processing and marketing under their control. At the initiative of Sardar Patel and Morarji Desai, the farmers organized themselves into a cooperative union and were able to pressurize the Bombay government, albeit with the help of a ‘milk strike’, to buy milk from their union .Thus, the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd, formally registered in December 1946, in ANAND, a small town on the highway between Ahmedabad and Baroda, supplying 247L of milk every day. Tribhuvandas K. Patel, who roamed villages on foot to persuade farmers to form milk co-operatives, became the first chairman of the union.
The union which started with two village co-operative societies with less than a hundred members now have thousands of societies and millions of members. From 247L of milk a day, it is now handling a million litres of milk a day.
In 1955, it was a struggle to get an adequate market to deal with the problem of the greater yields of milk so it had set up a factory to manufacture milk powder and butter. The same year the union chose the name of ‘AMUL’ for its range of products. This was the brand name which was to successfully compete with some of the world’s most powerful multinationals. With a vision to expand the brand, in 1960, a new factory was set up which was established to manufacture more than 500 tonnes of cheese and tonnes of baby products every day, Amul was the first dairy farm in the world to manufacture these products on a large commercial scale.
In 1964, a modern plant to manufacture cattle feed was commissioned. In 1994-1995, the union sold 144,181 tonnes of cattle feed through its branches. In the same year, about 670,000 such inseminations were performed through 827 centres. A 24-hour mobile veterinary service with 29 vehicles fitted with radiotelephones was available to the farmers at normal cost. Cattle owned by co-operative members were provided with insurance cover should anything happen to this major source of livelihood. Even manufacture of vaccines for cattle was started, again taking on multinational pharmaceutical companies in a struggle over turf which had all the ingredients of a modern thriller.
At the other end of the spectrum, an INSTITUTE of RURAL MANAGEMENT (IRMA) was founded in ANAND for training professional managers for rural development projects, using Anand complex and the Kaira Co-operative as a live laboratory. As it gained popularity in other regions in Gujarat, in 1974, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, Anand was formed as an apex organization of the unions in the district to look after marketing. As a result of the activities of the co-operative, nearly 48% of the income of the rural household in Kaira district came from dairying.
Some of the profits of the co-operative also went to improve the basic facilities in the village which includes wells, roads, schools, etc. The Kaira Co-operative success made the movement’s spread to the rest of the country inevitable. In 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then prime minister of INDIA, wrote to the chief ministers of all the states about the proposed large programme to set up co-operative dairies on the “ANAND PATTERN”.To perform the task the NATIONAL DAIRY DEVELOPMENT BOARD (NDDB) was created in 1965 at his initiative.NDDB launched ‘OPERATION FLOOD’, a programme to replicate the ‘ANAND PATTERN’ in other milk sheds of the country. By 1995 there were 69,875 village dairy co-operatives spread over 170 milk sheds all over the country. Operation Flood represented only 6.3% of total milk production and 22% of marketed milk in INDIA.
A study was done by the WORLD BANK (evaluation department) of OPERATION FLOOD details how the effort to replicate the ‘ANAND PATTERN’ paid rich dividends. A summary of the findings of this study shows how the complex multi-pronged benefits, similar to those achieved in a region, now spread to other parts of the country. Co-operatives for fruits and vegetable producers, oilseeds cultivators, small-scale salt makers and tree growers were started at the initiative of NDDB following the “ANAND PATTERN”.The ‘DHARA’ brand of vegetable oils was born by the efforts of NDDB, is beginning to represent in the area of vegetable oils what ‘Amul’ does in the area of milk and milk products