Sri Lanka sought ways and means to develop its dairy industry with the cooperation of India, when an official delegation led by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to New Delhi, Milinda Moragoda held discussions last week with the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF), popularly known as Amul.
High Commissioner Moragoda met Amul’s Managing Director Dr. R.S. Sodhi for discussions at the Federation’s headquarters in Anand, during the former’s first official visit to the State of Gujarat since assuming office in India.
High Commissioner Moragoda was in the State of Gujarat on a two-day official visit to meet with state officials and potential investors.
The discussion with the delegation led by the Managing Director of Amul focussed on dairy sector cooperation between Sri Lanka and India with special attention on importing Amul dairy products through the existing Indian credit line and replicating the Amul cooperative model in Sri Lanka with a view to ensuring self-sufficiency in milk. The possibility of introducing buffalo farming to Sri Lanka as a source of milk with the technical assistance of Amul was also discussed. In India, buffalo milk accounts for 45% of the total milk production of the country, while 55% of Amul’s total milk production comes from buffaloes.
Following the discussion, the High Commissioner and the delegation visited Kaira Milk Union dairy plant in Anand where packaging of milk and production of other dairy foods take place.
Formed in 1946 as a cooperative society in response to the exploitation of marginal milk producers by traders and agents in small cities, Amul was closely associated with anti-colonial sentiments and India’s independence movement. Today, Amul is jointly controlled by 3.6 million milk producers in 18, 565 villages in Gujarat. These village cooperatives form thirteen milk unions and the GCMMF functions as the apex body of those milk unions and manages the cooperative. The Federation is the largest food products marketing organization in India.
Amul spurred India’s ‘White Revolution’ or achieving self-sufficiency in milk, transforming India from a milk-deficient nation into the world’s largest milk producer, surpassing the United States of America in 1998. This was done through replicating the Amul model throughout India.
Under the guidance of freedom fighter and unifier of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Tribhuvandas Kishibhai Patel became the founding chairman of the organization and led it until his retirement in the 70s. Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered to be the man behind the enormous success of Amul, joined the organization in 1949 as its General Manager, and later became the founder Chairman of the GCMMF in 1973, a post that he held until 2006.
During his visit to Amul headquarters, High Commissioner Moragoda paid floral tributes to the statues of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Tribhuvandas Kishibhai Patel and Dr. Verghese Kurien.