Obstacles: Springboards for
Each failure, each obstacle, each stumbling block can be turned into a
success story. In the early years, Amul had to face a number of problems. With every
problem came opportunity. A chance to turn a negative into a positive. Milk by products
and supplementary yield which suffered from the same lack of marketing and distribution
facilities became encumbrances. Instead of being bogged down by their fate they were used
as stepping stones for expansion. Backward integration of the
process led the cooperatives to advances in animal husbandry and veterinary practice.
Milk by products: An excuse to expand.
The response to these provided stimulus for further growth. For example,
as the movement spread in the district, it was found that the Bombay
Milk Scheme could not absorb the extra milk collected by the Kaira Union in winter,
when the production on an average was 2.5 times more than in summer. Thus, even by 1953,
the farmer-members had no assured market for the extra milk produced in winter. They were again forced to sell a large surplus at low rates to the middlemen.
The remedy was to set up a plant to process milk into products like butter and milk
powder. A Rs 5 million plant to manufacture milk powder and butter
was completed in 1955. In 1958, the factory was expanded to manufacture sweetened
condensed milk. Two years later, a new wing was added for the manufacture of 2500 tons of
roller-dried baby food and 600 tons of cheese per year, the former based on a
formula developed with the assistance of Central Food Technological Research Institute
(CFTRI), Mysore. It was the first time anywhere in the world that
cheese or baby food was made from buffalo milk on a large, commercial scale.
Another milestone was the completion of a project to manufacture balanced cattle feed. The
plant was donated by OXFAM under the Freedom From Hunger Campaign of the FAO.
||The Kaira Union broke
the cycle by not only taking upon themselves the responsibility of collecting the
marketable surplus of milk but also provided the members with every provision needed to
enhance production. Thus the Kaira Union has full-fledged machinery geared to
provide animal health care and breeding facilities. As early as late fifties, the Union
started making high quality buffalo semen. Through village
society workers artificial
insemination service was made available to the rural animal population. The
Union started its mobile veterinary services to render animal
health care at the farmers' doorstep. Probably for the first time in the country,
veterinary first aid services, by trained personnel, were made available in the
villages.The Union's 16 mobile veterinary dispensaries are manned by fully qualified
staff. All the villages are visited bi-monthly, on a predetermined day, to provide animal
health care. A 24-hour Emergency Service is also available at a fee
(Rs. 35 for members and Rs. 100 for non-members). All the mobile veterinary vans
are equipped with Radio Telephones.