Operation Flood
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You are Here: IndiaDairy.Com / Facts & Figures / Operation Flood

Operation Flood, launched in 1970, has been instrumental in helping the farmers mould their own development... It was carried out in three phases:
Phase I
Phase II
Phase III
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Operation Flood
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Operation Flood

A recent World Bank audit shows that of the Rs 200 crores it invested in Operation Flood II, the net return into the rural economy has been a whopping Rs 24,000 crores per year over a period of ten years, or a total of Rs 240,000 crores in all. No other major development program has matched this input-output ratio.

Operation Flood, launched in 1970, has been instrumental in helping the farmers mould their own development. Thus helping reach milk to consumers in 700 towns and cities through a National Milk Grid. It also helped eradicate the need for middlemen thereby reducing the seasonal price variations. As a result of the cooperative structure the whole exercise of production and distribution of milk and milk products has become economically viable for farmers to undertake on their own. In this manner the farmer himself can enjoy the fruits of his own labor, instead of surrendering a majority of the profit to corrupt middlemen.

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Three Phases of development

The scheme sought to establish milk producers' cooperatives in the villages and make modern technology available to them. The broad objectives are to increase milk production ("a flood of milk"), augment rural incomes and transfer to milk producers the profits of milk marketing which are hitherto enjoyed by well-to-do-middlemen.

Phase I of Operation Flood was financed by the sale within India of skimmed milk powder and butter oil gifted by the EC countries via the World Food Program. As founder-chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) of India, Dr Kurien finalized the plans and negotiated the details of EEC assistance. He looked after the administration of the scheme as founder-chairman of the erstwhile Indian Dairy Corporation, the project authority for Operation Flood. During its first phase, the project aimed at linking India's 18 best milksheds with the milk markets of the four metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Madras.
Phase II of the project, implemented during 1981-85 raised this to some 136 milksheds linked to over 290 urban markets. The seed capital raised from the sale of WFP/EEC gift products and World Bank loan had created, by end 1985, a self-sustaining system of 43,000 village cooperatives covering 4.25 million milk producers. Milk powder production went up from 22,000 tonnes in the pre project year to 1,40,000 tonnes in 1989, thanks to dairies set up under Operation Flood. The EEC gifts thus helped to promote self-reliance. Direct marketing of milk by producers' cooperatives resulting in the transfer of profits from milk contracts --increased by several million liters per day.
Phase III of Operation Flood (1985-1996) enabled dairy cooperatives to rapidly build up the basic infrastructure required to procure and market more and more milk daily. Facilities were created by the cooperatives to provide better veterinary first-aid health care services to their producer members.

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Far reaching consequences

The year 1995-96 marked the termination of Operation Flood III, funded by a World Bank loan, EEC food aid and internal resources of NDDB. At the conclusion of Operation Flood III, 72,744 DCSs in 170 milksheds of the country, having a total membership of 93.14 lakh had been organized. The targets set have either been effectively achieved or exceeded. However, procurement targets could not be reached as private agencies started procuring milk from the cooperative villages, following the new delicensing policy under the Government's program of economic liberalization.
The conditions for long-term growth in procurement have been created. An assured market and remunerative producer prices for raw milk, technical input services including AI, balanced cattle feed and emergency veterinary health services have all contributed to sustained increases in milk production. Three state-of-the-art dairies designed to produce quality products for both the domestic and export markets have been commissioned.
While the demand for milk was rising under Operation Flood the total cattle population remained more or less static. If milk production had to be increased
The buffalo and milk breeds of cattle had to be upgraded
Non-descript cows had to be crossbred with exotic semen to increase their milk production to make them more efficient converters of feed.

With this objective in mind, thrust was given to intensive research and development camera.gif (956 bytes) in animal husbandry. Today, animal breeding is an integration of three major areas, artificial insemination and quantitative genetic techniques, embryo transfer and embryo micro manipulation techniques and biotechnology and genetics engineering. The optimal genetic improvement can be achieved by making use of developments in each of these areas.

Operation Flood which started in 1970, concluded its Third Phase in 1996. Let us look at what Operation Flood has achieved in milk. We are not looking simply at the application of science and technology, though both have played a role; we are not looking simply at the creation of farmer-owned structures, though such structures have been necessary to success. What we are looking at is all of this, combined with the orchestration of all policies and programs that affect production. Further, they ensure to the extent possible, that these support mechanism strengthen efforts, rather than stand as obstacles.

Cost reduction and technology management
modernization of process and plant technology
interventions for productivity increase
frontier technologies like DNA vaccines and genetically engineered bovine somatotropin,embryo transfer technology and in vitro fertilization of oocytes
    The story of Operation Flood can be seen through three angles. One is to consider what it did to the dairy industry. Another point of view is from the eyes of the small farmer. it has revoultionized their way of life. Operation Flood has also established a pattern of success for other countries to follow.


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