NDDB : Heralding Changes
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Imagine every morning and evening, some 9 million farmers carrying potfuls of milk to their cooperatives -- milk that will travel from remote villages to towns and cities throughout India.Today, these farmers own some of the largest and most successful businesses in India...
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NDDB: Heralding Changes

The past 33 years of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) have seen the birth of India's modern dairy industry. The cooperative movement, that NDDB helped to create, has become a model for other developing countries and the international agencies that are concerned with dairy development.

The Board was created in 1965 in response to Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's call to "transplant the spirit of Anand in many other places". He wanted the Anand model of dairy development, with institutions owned by rural producers, which were sensitive to their needs and responsive to their demands, replicated in other parts of the country.

In the late sixties, the Board drew up a project called Operation Flood (OF), meant to create a flood of milk in India's villages with funds mobilized from foreign food donations.

  • The enormous urban market stimulus has led to sustained production increases, raising per capita availability of milk to nearly 200 grams per day.
  • The dependence on commercial imports of milk solids are done away with.
  • Modernization and expansion of the dairy industry and its infrastructure, activating a milk grid.
  • Marketing expanded to supply hygienic and fair priced milk to some 300 million consumers in 550 cities and towns.
  • Ninety lakh small producers in 74,000 villages are earning jointly an incremental income of Rs 2500 crores from milk.
  • A nationwide network of multi-tier producers' cooperatives, democratic in structure and professionally managed, has come into existence. Millions of small producers participate in an economic enterprise and improve the quality of their life and environs.
  • Dairy equipment manufacture has expanded to meet most of the industry's needs.

Imagine every morning and evening, some 9 million farmers carrying potfuls of milk to their cooperatives, milk that will travel from remote villages to towns and cities throughout India. Today, these farmers own some of the largest and most successful businesses in India. Their infrastructure has returned a greater share of the consumers' rupee to the farmer. It has built markets, supplied inputs, created value-added processing and products. All this has happened because farmers' productive capacity has been linked with professional management in cooperatives.

The success of a milk cooperative movement under the aegis of NDDB has had unexpected results. The government has brought other primary commodities like edible oils, fruits and vegetables under the Board's care. The cooperative umbrella has been extended to cover the following products:

Branded Vegetable Oils

In order to establish a direct link between the producers and consumers of oil thus reducing the role of oil traders and oil exchanges, NDDB decided to enter the consumer pack market for edible oils through its 'Dhara' refined rapeseed and groundnut oil. Within a short span, 'Dhara' has become the market leader in branded edible oil because of its tamper proof packing and high quality. Launched in 1979, the Oilseeds Growers' Cooperative Project now links over a lakh (10 lakhs = 1 million) farmer-members spread over 5,000 oilseeds growers' cooperative societies in 8 states

Fruits and Vegetables

The fruit and Vegetable Project of the NDDB has become operational in Delhi from January 1988 to provide a direct link between fruit and vegetables growers and consumers. The project is designed to handle 1,20,000 MT of fruit and vegetables annual in the center of Delhi. Already more than 200 retail shops have been set up, each shop has a capacity to sell upto 1,600 kg of fruit and vegetables daily and other cooperative products like butter, oil, cheese, chocolates, etc.


The Sabarmati Salt Farmers' Society set up by the NDDB in 1987 aims at ensuring a better price for salt producers and reducing the dependence on the traders. It has also acted as a catalyst in initiating a few developmental programs like medical and health care, education, etc. to improve the quality of life of the salt producers who are a very exploited group.

Agro Forestry

In addition, in August 1986, NDDB initiated a pilot project on Tree Growers' Cooperatives. This is aimed at evolving rural peoples' institutions that could meet the requirement of fuelwood and fodder needs through tree and grass growing on common and degraded wastelands as well as marginally productive private lands.

There are now Technology Missions for dairy development and for vegetable oil and oilseeds development. The Board is now forging closer links with the institutional infrastructure under state and central governments for better farmers' participation and production enhancement under these missions.

The NDDB itself has undergone a structural change in 1988. The board, registered as a society, and the Indian Dairy Corporation, a company formed and registered under the Companies Act 1956, were merged by an Act of Parliament, the NDDB Act 1987. The resulting corporate body bears the old name: National Dairy Development Board. The act has declared the Board to be an institution of national importance.

It is a highly experienced organization. A well-known, growth-and-challenge-oriented, multi-sectoral and multi-locational institution involved in planning, implementing and financing farmer-owned and farmer-managed agro-business enterprises mainly in the cooperative sector.

In sum, NDDB is a unique example of organizational development, human resource and cooperative development in India.

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