Effect on Rural Development
A number of field studies conducted by independent
researchers emphatically confirm the role played by milk cooperatives the progress of
the dairy industry. Millions of small farmers isolated in various parts of the country
have gained the strength to sustain their livelihood. The cooperatives have provided
gainful employment and brought them close to the market. When
cooperative dairying started in Gujarat, the dairy industry was in the doldrums.
Production had stagnated and per capita consumption was falling. Farmers were at the mercy
of the middlemen. Today, with about 100 lakh farmer producers,
Indian dairy farmers have been shown the way to prosperity and health. The ideal
conditions for long term growth in procurement have been created.
- Modern technologies in animal breeding and feeding have been adopted by a
significant number of farmers.
- Modern consumer processing and marketing facilities have been created all
over the country.
- Technical input services including animal insemination, balanced cattle
feed / bypass proteins feed, better fodder varieties and emergency veterinary health
services - have not only helped in raising and sustaining milk production but have also
ensured a better quality of life in the villages.
Besides creating urban employment in dairy plants,
marketing, transport and distribution, these dairy cooperatives have helped to provide
farmers with a sustainable rural employment program. A majority of the cooperative
members are landless, marginal or small farmers who contribute their produce of milk at
the cooperatives. For these contributors, the income derived from milk provides their only
regular cash flow, transforming dairying into an economic activity.
The village cooperative is a clean well lit and orderly place. The
villages have gone through a similar transformation ever since the cooperatives began to
operate. When the people of a village see cleanliness, sanitation,
hard work and discipline in the cooperative. When they know that the cooperative
serves them well. It probably inspires them to bring more of these
qualities into their own lives.
||The women members of out dairy cooperatives
visit our dairies. They are shown the mysteries of artificial insemination under a
microscope. Does not their knowledge of conception in animals help them to better
understand their own lives and to begin to control what was simply assumed as a matter of
When out villages people see a veterinarian cure an animal
that would have otherwise died, they learn about the efficacy of the modern medicine. When
they see their income from milk increase as their animals improve, an the farmer produces
better feeds as they ensure better housing and care, they learn hope. And they learn that
it is not fate that determines their future, but they can take control of their own
destinies. In a nation like ours, democracy whether it be in Delhi or in State capitals
rests on a fragile foundation. We must underpin that democracy with
a plurality of rural institutions that involves direct control of individuals over matters
that have immediate effect on their own lives. They dairy cooperatives of India are
Dairy cooperatives are giving a fresh lease of
life to farmers in drought-prone areas. Milk production and unexploitative
marketing through the cooperatives is providing an assured source of
income to farmers helping them sustain themselves against recurring drought. The
migrating population is settling down. About Rs 2,000 crores is
being paid to the farmers in their villages daily -- morning and evening -- which
constitutes a large portion of their income. Operation Flood has, therefore, emerged in
India as the largest rural employment scheme. It has been
able to modernize the dairy sector to a level from where it can take off to meet not only the country's demand for milk and milk products in
the next century but can also exploit global market opportunities.
Thereby capitalizing on the inherent production advantages that India has, provided that
the right policy options are exercised to overcome some already visible signs of market
disorder in the post-liberalization period. Among them are:
- Over-capitalization in the private dairy sector
- Ineffective enforcement of standards of processing, hygiene and quality
- A near absence of any monitoring mechanism to enforce market discipline.
These threats need to be countered to protect the long-term interests of milk producers,
their organizations, as well as of the consumer.
When producers have such structures at their command, they have the
means to ensure that the fruits of science and technology reach all those who benefit. It
is only when such structures exist that farmers develop confidence in getting an assured
remunerative price for their produce. This, in turn stimulates investment in productivity.
Further, farmers also demand the delivery of services and inputs they need to realize
returns on their investments. Such structures can perhaps educate farmers to the fragile
nature of the environment and the need to conserve it.
One big lesson learnt is that farmers must be respected and trusted.
They may not be educated, or even literate, but they possess common sense and even wisdom.
Frequently, they have shown the ability to rise above narrow self-interest to act together
in pursuit of long-term goals and the common good.