India, the biggest milk producer country in the world, had made a small start towards the milk revolution 75 years ago when Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Limited (KDCMPUL) collected 250 litres of milk from two villages in modern-day Anand.
Eventually, the KDCMPUL, which was lacking in scale, has become not just a business, but a call to end the monopoly of Polson Dairy, a private company that had flourished under the British Raj.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel played an important role in this call.
Before the start of the milk movement in India, farmers were unable to sell their milk in the market without the help of middlemen. They were totally dependant on the mercy of middlemen and only the Polson Dairy had the right to buy milk from the entire Kaira district. The farmers were angry because Polson exploited them.
This was the first time that the British had entered the dairy sector of India.
A delegation of farmers from Gujarat came to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and told him about their inability to send their milk to the markets without the help of middlemen.
Sardar Patel, who advocated farmers’ cooperatives as early as 1942, reiterated his advice that farmers should sell their milk through their own cooperative and these cooperative societies should have its own plants. He also advised the farmers to seek permission from the Britishers to set up such cooperative societies in India.
If their demand is turned down, they should refuse to sell their milk to middlemen and go on strike and due to such strike, the middleman and the company will also suffer some loss as they will not be able to sell their milk for some time.
If they are ready to bear the loss, Patel is ready to lead them, he had said.
The farmers’ delegation immediately accepted Patel’s proposal. After this Patel sent his trusted deputy Morarjibhai Desai to organize a milk cooperative in Kaira district.
Desai held a meeting on January 4, 1946 at Samarkha village in Kaira district. Among others, future PM Morarji Desai, and freedom fighter Tribhuvandas Patel, now fondly remembered as Tribhuvan kaka were part of the delegation.
Source :APN Live Oct 31 2021