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The White Revolution

28-NOV-2015 10:16

    The White Revolution is referred to as the concept of unexpected increase in milk production. It was launched in India from the city named Anand of old Kheda district (at present, Anand district) in Gujarat. The milk-producing farmers of Kheda formed a co-operative society in 1946 to oppose the exploitative policies of private firms.


    The National Dairy Development Board in 1969 planned a dairy development programme for a viable, self-supportive national dairy industry. This programme links rural milk production to urban milk marketing through cooperatives societies. In July 1970 with technical assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the programme was launched as Operation Flood (OF). Dr Kurien ever unwilling to accept anything that sounded soul-less, renamed the cumbersome title of WFP Project India 618, Milk Marketing and Dairy Development as OPERATION FLOOD had just that touch of aggressive movement so dear to his heart.

    Operation Flood (OF) -I

    Operation Flood-I sought to establish 18 “Anands” linked to the four urban markets – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. These funds were generated from gifted commodities received from the United Nations World Food Programme – 126,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder and 42,000 tonnes of butter oil over project period. The commodities were recombined as liquid milk and sold in these cities at prevailing market price that went in for building the cooperative dairies under the programme, while capturing the urban market for rurally produced milk.

    To route the gifted commodities and funds under OF, the Government of India set up the Indian Dairy Corporation (IDC) in 1970 which was later merged with NDDB in 1987, by an Act of Parliament. (The NDDB Act 1987).

    By focusing on producers with small resource bases – animal and land holdings in potential milk sheds, Operation Flood strived to generate a flood of milk in the rural areas and create a flow into the cities. This flow was sustained by linking milk production to its marketing through modern processing facilities. The major advantage of taking milk and not cattle from villages into cities was the convenient, economic and scientific management of the milk animals in milk sheds through improved breeding, feeding and health care practices.

    Operation Flood (OF) -II

    It establishes a modern and self sustaining dairy industry, building on the foundation of OF-I to meet the nations’ needs in milk and milk products. For OF-II, donated commodities were received directly from the European Economic Community (EEC) – 186,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder and 76,000 tonnes of butter oil. Financially supported by money generated by the sale of these commodities as recombined milk, a soft loan of US$150 million from the World Bank and his internal resources of the Indian Dairy Corporation, OF-II covered 150 milk sheds. To link these milk sheds to the city market and ensure a year-round sustained milk supply, the National Milk Grid with storage and long-distance transport facilities was created.

    Operation Flood-III

    It focused on consolidating the milk procurement, processing and marketing infrastructure created under OF-I & OF-II. OF-III was funded from the internal resources of NDDB as well as through a World Bank loan/credit of US$365 million and proceeds from the sales of EEC gifted dairy commodities.

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