How Kuriens Idea Helped India Become Worlds Largest Milk Producer

How Dr. Verghese Kurien's "Billion-litre Idea" Helped India Become The World's Largest Milk Producer

Long before Dr. Verghese Kurian became the father of India's White Revolution, he was a Dairy Engineer who was sent on deputation to manage a Government dairy business in Anand district of Gurajat. Back then, little did young Kurian know that tables were going to turn for him.

It was during that time Polson, a dairy product brand, supplied milk products to the British Army and the Bombay Milk Scheme. While the demand for the products was at its zenith, the farmers involved in the transaction were exploited. Their leader,Tribhuvandas K. Patel, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, aware of the dire farmer situation, helped create India's first dairy co-operative, Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producer's Union (KDCMPUL) as a solution the the farmers qualms. They began to supply milk directly to the Bombay Milk Scheme at a much lower price compared to Polson. Sardar Patel saw that he could seek help from Dr. Varghese Kurian whom he saw potential in.

Kurian's Engineering background brought in the kind of competence and best practices the Co-operative needed to expand drastically. During his time, he found a way to produce powder milk from buffalo milk, which put a stop to the wastage of excess milk. By introducing a supply chain approach, he figured out a system to connect farmers directly to the end consumer, reducing the cost of their products drastically, and providing better returns to the farmers. Polson no longer held the monopoly in the dairy market. The potential was huge. With everyone's support, the union became known as Amul Dairy.

During 1965, Kurian was approached by the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to develop a nation-wide, ‘Billion-litre-idea' that was similar to what he had done in Anand. By then, he had become the founder and chairman of the NDDB (National Dairy Development Board), which was independent of any Government intervention. In 1970, Operation Flood, NDDB's revolutionary project and the world's biggest agricultural dairy development project was launched. It turned India from a nation known for its deficient milk production to the world's largest milk producing country in the world. It was all because of Kurian's efforts of expanding the ‘Anand pattern of milk production' regionally. Operation Flood was launched in three phases across 700 towns, economically uplifting the farmers of the nation and increasing the production of milk from 20 tonnes in 1960 to 122 million tonnes in 2011. Close to 70 percent of the profit went to the farmers because they directly dealt with the consumers.

The story of Amul, as we all know of today, has a heavy history of effort, struggle, and perseverance. It took the effort of one man to unite many. 26th November, the birth anniversary of Dr. Verghese Kurian, has, since then, been recognized as National Milk Day.