Dr. Verghese Kurien

Dr. Verghese Kurien

Based on Newspaper report dated: September 10, 2012

Death of Dr. Kurien

Dr. Verghese Kurien, father of the Indian “White Revolution” and founder of the cooperative dairy movement in the country, died in Nadiad on September 9, aged 90.

A brief life sketch

Dr. Kurien was born in Kozhikode, Kerala, on November 26, 1921. He studied mechanical engineering with dairy engineering as a minor subject.

He came to Anand, Gujarat in 1949 at the behest of the then Union Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, to solve some problems of the local farmers. Anand became his home ever since.

Dr. Kurien turned 10 million farmers into a legendary milk cooperative, Amul. For him the dairy farmers were the rightful owners of the milk business. The word Amul is derived from the Sanskrit word Amulya, meaning invaluable. The co-operative is also sometimes referred to by the unofficial backronym: Anand Milk Union Limited.

Now Amul is a brand name managed by the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF). Amul, with a turnover of over Rs. 13,000 crore, is Asia’s top milk-producing brand and is counted, with one of the best recall values, among the world’s leading brands in any sector.

Dr. Kurien’s vision and effort ensured India’s emergence from a milk-deficient country into the largest milk producer in the world, overtaking even the once milk-abundant Netherlands and Denmark.

At his instance, in 1965 the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was set up with the basic objective of replicating the Amul model. Dr. Kurien was chosen to head the institution as its Chairman and asked to replicate this model throughout the country.

He replicated the the Amul Model throughout India as Operation Flood, making India the world’s largest producer of milk. Today over 10 million farmers across the country at 200 dairies produce over 20 million litres of milk a day. It is because of Dr. Kurien that India today contributes about 17 per cent of the total milk production in the world.

Kurien also revolutionised the milk industry when he produced milk powder from buffalo milk. The rest of the world used cow milk to make milk powder.

Awards and Recognitions

Hailed as the “Milkman of India”, Kurien won several awards including the Padma Vibhushan (India’s second-highest civilian honour), the World Food Prize and the Magsaysay Award for community leadership.

The Amul Model

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. The three pillars of this model are:

  • Establishment of a direct linkage between milk producers and consumers by eliminating middlemen
  • Milk Producers (farmers) control procurement, processing and marketing
  • Professional management

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