White Revolution in India and Women Empowerment

Synopsis: Dairy cooperatives models adopted by India during  Operation Flood improved women development in India

Introduction: Women dairy farmers’ contribution to India’s white revolution is immense. That itself is a great reason for India to celebrate Women’s History Month in March.

What is the White revolution?
  1. Firstly, Operation Flood led to the White revolution. It aimed to make India a self-dependent nation in milk production.
  2. Secondly, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) launched it in 1970. Dr Verghese Kurien is the father of the White Revolution in India.
  3. Thirdly, Operation Flood promoted the AMUL model. Under this model, milk is procured from farmers’ co-operatives. The excess milk is converted to skimmed milk powder and get utilized during the lean season. The milk is distributed through an organized retail network.
  4. Fourthly, so far operation flood is the world’s biggest dairy development program. The Operation flood made India the world’s largest producer of milk.
Role of cooperatives in Operation Flood:

In India Majority of the dairy farmers own only small landholdings(households with two to five cows). But due to the development of co-operatives under Operation Flood, they were able to improve a lot. This includes,

  1. The small dairy farmers were able to avoid middlemen.
  2. They also started getting a guaranteed minimum procurement price for milk.
  3. It enhanced the knowledge and bargaining power of small and marginal farmers.
Achievement of women dairy farmers:

Apart from the general benefits, women dairy farmers achieved many significant achievements. This includes,

  1. According to the latest data, there are more than 1,90,000 dairy cooperative societies across the country. Approximately 6 million of their members are women members.
  2. A study conducted on Women Dairy Cooperative Society (WDCS) members in Rajasthan shows certain striking development among women. Such as,
    1. 31% of the women dairy farmers in Rajasthan converted their mud houses to cement structures.
    2. 39% of women dairy farmers in Rajasthan constructed concrete sheds for their cattle
    3.  Women-led cooperatives provide fertile ground for the capacity building of rural women in a leadership position.
      For example, A woman dairy farmer who not even visited the school joined a Dairy cooperative. Now she is the main breadwinner in her family and bought 25 acres of land with the income she earned through dairy farming.
  3. Apart from that, Women dairy farmers also broke the traditional practices of patriarchal society.

All these developments are demonstrated through the testimonials on International Women’s Day. It was conducted by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

Financial success of women-led dairy unions and companies:
  • During the early years of Operation Flood, the National Dairy Development Board worked on setting up women-led producer enterprises. This includes companies like Shreeja Mahila Milk Producer Company. The company started with 24 women, but now it has more than 90,000 members. The company now has a turnover of approximately ₹450 crores/year.
  • In 2019, Amul released a list of 10 women dairy farmers who became a millionaire by selling milk.

The women development achieved by the women dairy farmers in India is huge. They achieved this feat even without getting any formal education.

Conclusion:

A study by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) indicates that 93% of women who succeeded received both financial support and training. Instead, the success rate is only  57% if they receive financial aid alone.

So the government has to understand this and start providing training to the remaining women dairy farmers. As this will be the only way to improve women’s empowerment.

Source: The Hindu

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