Indian agriculture needs a Verghese Kurien

News: 26th Nov, 2021 was Kurien’s 100th birth anniversary

What is the legacy of Verghese Kurien?

Architect of a rural revolution: He transformed the lives of millions of farmers in Gujarat. Poverty alleviation and social transformation was central to his idea of Co-operative model.

Professional integrity: There were many who saw him as an outsider due to his diverse socio-economic background. But Kurien won the farmers over with his professional integrity and his vision of a central role for farmers in India’s journey of development.

Launched the White Revolution: He was behind the design of Amul as a co-operative, that later became a global brand and transformed India as the largest milk producing nation in the world.

 Co-operative model of business development: He decided that Amul would grow and establish its identity neither as a public sector undertaking nor as a private corporate entity. He felt that, the co-operative model, was in the best interests of Gujarat’s milk producers.

Learning from the Best practices: He borrowed the ideas and the practices of the corporate world in areas such as innovation in marketing and management, branding and technology etc

How has Amul performed in the years after the demise of Verghese Kurien?

Amul has grown steadily on the strong foundation laid by its visionary leader, diversifying its product range and adding new ones.

Amul remains one of India’s best-known food brands and is an inspiration to other dairy cooperatives such as Nandini in Karnataka, Aavin in Tamil Nadu and Verka in Punjab.

Has cooperative sector benefitted from Amul’s success?

Sadly, Amul’s success has not been the catalyst for an economic transformation at the grassroots level. It has neither resulted in similar movements across other agricultural commodities in India.

The cooperative movement in India is in a state of uncertainty. It has suffered due to lack of professional management, adequate finance and poor adoption of technology.

Source: This post is based on the article “Indian agriculture needs a Verghese Kurien” published in The Hindu on 27th November 2021.

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