Indian agriculture needs a Verghese Kurien: Daily Current Affairs

GS-3: Economics of Animal-Rearing. Storage, Transport and Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints;

Key phrases: National Milk Day, White Revolution, NDDB, Rashtriya Gokul Mission

Important quotes from this article:

  1. “India’s place in the sun will come from the partnership between the wisdom of its rural people and the skill of its professionals” - Verghese Kurein
  2. “What the world needs is not mass production, but production by the masses.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Why in news :

Every year November 26 is celebrated as National Milk Day in India. The day has been observed since 2014 to commemorate the birth anniversary of the Father of India's White Revolution, Dr Verghese Kurien. also nicknamed as “Milkman of India”.


What is White Revolution?

  • Operation Flood, launched on 13 January 1970, was the world's largest dairy development program and a landmark project of India's National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). It transformed India from a milk-deficient nation into the world's largest milk producer, surpassing the United States of America in 1998 with about 22.29 percent of global output in 2018. Within 30 years, it doubled the milk available per person in India and made dairy farming India's largest self-sustainable rural employment generator.

  • It was launched to help farmers direct their own development and give them control of the resources they create.

  • All this was achieved not merely by mass production, but by production by the masses; the process has since been termed as the "White Revolution".

National Dairy Development Board

  • The Dairy Board was created to promote, finance and support producer-owned and controlled organisations. NDDB's programmes and activities seek to strengthen farmer owned institutions and support national policies that are favourable to the growth of such institutions. Fundamental to NDDB's efforts are cooperative strategies and principles.
  • NDDB’s efforts transformed India’s rural economy by making dairying a viable and profitable economic activity for millions of milk producers while addressing the country’s need for self-sufficiency in milk production.
  • NDDB has been reaching out to dairy farmers by implementing other income generating innovative activities and offering them sustainable livelihood.

Cooperative dairy model

Challenges faced by India Dairy sector:

  1. Shortage of feed/fodder: There is an excessive number of unproductive animals which compete with productive dairy animals in the utilisation of available feeds and fodder. The grazing area is being reduced markedly every year due to industrial development resulting in shortage of supply of feed and fodder to the total requirement. Ever increasing gap between demand and supply in feeds and fodder limits performance of dairy animals. Moreover, provision of poor quality of forage to dairy cattle restricts the animal production system. The low capability of purchasing feed and fodder by the small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers engaged in dairy development result in inadequate feeding. Non-supplementation of mineral mixture results in mineral deficiency diseases. High-cost Feeding reduces the profits of the dairy industry.
  2. Breeding system: Late maturity, in most of the Indian cattle breeds, is a common problem. There is no effective detection of heat symptoms during the oestrus cycle by the cattle owners. The calving interval is on the increase resulting in a reduction in efficiency of animal performance. Diseases causing abortion leads to economic loss to the industry. Mineral, hormone and vitamin deficiencies lead to fertility problems.
  3. Education and Training: A vigorous education and training programmes on good dairy practices could result in the production of safe dairy products, but to succeed they have to be participative in nature. In this regard, education and training of all the employees is essential so that they understand what they are doing and develop a sense of ownership. However, developing and implementing such programs in the dairy sector requires a strong commitment from the management, which at times, is a stumbling block.
  4. Health: Veterinary health care centres are located in far off places. The ratio between cattle population and veterinary institution is wider, resulting in inadequate health services to animals. No regular and periodical vaccination schedule is followed, regular deworming programme is not done as per schedule, resulting in heavy mortality in calves, especially in buffalo. No adequate immunity is established against various cattle diseases.
  5. Hygiene Conditions: Many cattle owners do not provide proper shelter to their cattle leaving them exposed to extreme climatic conditions. Unsanitary conditions of cattle shed and milking yards, leads to mastitis conditions. Unhygienic milk production leads to a reduction in storing quality and spoilage of milk and other products.
  6. Marketing and Pricing: Dairy farmers are not getting remunerative prices for milk supply. Due to the adoption of an extensive cross breeding programme with the Holstein Friesian breed, the fat content of crossbreed cow's milk is on the declining condition and low price is offered as the milk price is estimated on the basis of fat and solid non-fat milk content. There is also a poor perception of the farmers, due to lack of marketing facilities and extension services, towards commercial dairy enterprises as an alternative to other occupations.

Related Government Schemes

  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission: Rashtriya Gokul Mission was initiated by Government of India in December 2014 with the aim of development and conservation of indigenous bovine breeds, genetic upgradation of bovine population and enhancing milk production and productivity of bovines thereby making milk production more remunerative to the farmers.
    The Rashtriya Gokul Mission will help in development and conservation of indigenous breeds and would also contribute in improving the economic condition of the rural poor.
  • The National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD): The National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD) scheme is targeted towards installation of about 8900 bulk milk coolers, thus providing benefit to more than 8 lakh milk producers and 20 LLPD milk will be additionally procured. Under NPDD, financial assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be available thus strengthening and creating fresh infrastructure in 4500 villages.
  • Gokul Gram: The Rashtriya Gokul Mission also envisages establishment of integrated cattle development centres ‘Gokul Grams’ to develop indigenous breeds.
  • Gopal Ratna Awards: announced the launch of the National Awards for the Cattle and Dairy sector, the Gopal Ratna Awards. The award has three categories - i) Best Dairy farmer, ii) Best Artificial Insemination Technician (AIT) and Best Dairy Cooperative/ Milk producer Company/ FPO.
  • Kamdhenu Awards: For institutions maintaining the best herd of indigenous breeds.
  • Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme (NAIP) - It was launched in 604 districts with less than 50% Artificial Insemination coverage.
  • Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF): This scheme aims at modernising the milk processing plants and machinery and to create additional infrastructure for processing more milk.
  • National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP): The overall aim of the National Animal Disease Control Programme for FMD and Brucellosis (NADCP) is to control FMD by 2025 with vaccination and its eventual eradication by 2030
  • National Bovine Productivity Mission: In order to make dairy business more profitable through creation of e-Pashuhaat portal. This is playing an important role in linking milk producers and breeders for indigenous breeds.
  • Pashupedia: It is a repository of the breeds of cattle, hosted by Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying

Way forward

  • Amul’s success needs to become a catalyst for similar movements across other agricultural commodities.
  • India's farming sector needs to be encouraged to inculcate mixed farming (crops and livestock) to double farmers’ income.
  • The cooperative movement in India can be revitalised through professional management, adequate financing and better adoption of technology

Source: The Hindu

Prelims Question:

Q. With reference to dairy sector in India, consider the following statements:

  1. The Amul model of dairy development is a three-tiered structure, with the dairy cooperative societies at the village level federated under a milk union at the district level and a federation of member unions at the state level.
  2. Dairy has a lot of potential to improve rural incomes, nutrition and women empowerment, and hence is a very critical area for investment.
  3. Investments for dairy infrastructure development are met through domestic sources - there is no international aid in this sector.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (b)

Mains question:

Q. The co-operative model in India is influenced by Gandhian thinking on poverty alleviation and social transformation. Do you agree? Elucidate with examples. (10 Marks, 150 Words)