Monday, November 28, 2011


During these days of scams and non-governance in the country which is ruled by intellectual pygmies with no vision, the nostalgia about Dr V Kurien, the father of white revolution in India must be soothing the feelings of every Indian living to day. It is part of history as to how Dr Kurien's far-sighted efforts and strong leadership quality till recently, took the country to the top position as a milk producer among the comity of nations. Tribute is also due to him for training a strong cadre to take the challenge forward by continuing his spirit and philosophy. On the occasion of his completion of 9 decades of life, most of it spent for uplifting the lot of millions of dairy farmers in the country, nation must salute this illustrious son of the soil for his yeoman service. May God bless him with another 90 years of life so that younger generation of Indians get opportunity to appreciate and emulate him in thought and action.

"Today, the turnover of Amul-led cooperatives stands at Rs 10,000 crore as against less than Rs 1,000 crore in early 1990s. The Amul group now consists of 15 district unions with 30 lakh farmer members in close to 16,000 villages of Gujarat producing over 90 lakh litre milk a day. A majority of its farmer members are women. These dairy cooperatives produce and process a range of products such as liquid milk, cheese, curd, milk powder, milk drink, sweets, ice cream, chocolates and butter among others. Verghese Kurien, Amul founder and the father of White Revolution, turned 90 on Saturday. For the first time after 2006, the Kurien family witnessed a huge turnout of people at their residence 'Kurien Enclave' as named by the civic body of Anand. In 2006, Kurien was compelled to resign by his board members from the chairman's post of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), the apex milk marketing cooperative body of the group. "In early 1970s, the concept for selfsustenance in animal husbandry was believed could only be achieved by large ranches with hundreds of cattle. At that time, I used to tell people at FAO that we have this man (Kurien) who is getting marginal farmers with only one or two cattle together to make India largest milk producer. Kurien went against the tide and made Amul a very successful model," former Planning Commission member and union minister YK Alagh told ET. He finds the Amul model even more relevant in present situation. Now, the Amul model has been replicated in several states where brands like Verka, Nandini, Sudha, Mahananda and Saras are dominating the market. The World Bank has identified the Amul model as one of the key tools to fight poverty. GCMMF receives frequent requests from African countries to assist them in replicating the model. Kurien introduced some of the best international technology and practices in Amul that even rivals tried to copy. "Kurien got the industry moving and put the Indian dairy industry on world map. During Kurien's stint in the sector, India developed best technology and practices during Operation Flood. However, there is a huge vacuum in the dairy sector since Dr Kurien left some five years ago," said Devendra Shah of Parag Milk Foods that markets Govardhan Ghee and Go Cheese among other premium dairy products".

What left a bad taste in the mouth after his exit from Amul/NDDB, is the way he was forced to retire from active life through intrigues and insinuations by some of his own colleagues during the early years of this Millennium.  It should not be forgotten that many middle aged people in this country were brought up during their early years of life through feeding of the first Baby Food created, manufactured and offered by Amul during sixties, seventies of the last millennium under the guidance of this stalwart. If cooperative dairy industry is live and kicking to day against powerful global dairy giants, no one else is responsible but Dr Kurien. It is a pity that he was not given the same latitude and mandate as in the case of milk, in organizing the fragmented and unorganized edible oil sector and horticultural produce industry, both areas still languishing for want of sincere and committed efforts and tall leaders with vision like him.


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