In the predominantly vegetarian diet of
South India, milk provides protein and cooking fat called ghee. For
centuries families kept their own milk cattle, usually buffalo. In Greater
Bombay, as the population expanded beyond the island city to over three
million, the cattle became a major problem. Crowded into unsanitary stables
in congested residential areas, many animals died for lack of grazing or
other feed. Producers began to overcharge for milk which was often
contaminated and adulterated and in ever shorter supply.
D. N. KHURODY began, in the early 1940s, to evolve the scheme that today is
revolutionizing the processing and marketing of milk in Bombay. Now Dairy
Commissioner and Joint Secretary to Maharashtra State, he was then Milk
Commissioner of Bombay City. In that capacity he argued persuasively for
government support and carried to implementation in 1949 the Aarey Milk
Colony. Located 20 miles north of Bombay City, this largest dairy
establishment in Asia is a combination of model dairy farms and milk
pasteurization plant. It distributes clean milk of controlled quality and
price to about one and one-half million city dwellers and over 300 hospitals
and institutions. Also purchased from Aarey by the Bombay Municipality is
the milk issued free daily to some 72,000 undernourished school children.
At the Aarey Colony cattle owners pay rent for farms and the plant buys the
milk. Over 20,000 cattle have been removed from Bombay city and suburbs by
this means. With proper care, milk yield per animal has increased from 18 to
20 per cent and thousands of calves and buffaloes have been saved from
starvation or slaughter. A second plant at nearby Worli which began
operation in 1962, is designed to service similarly the other one-half of
the city population.
Bombay's growing demand for milk also has provided the basis for a new rural
way of life around Anand, some 200 miles inland. Here TRIBHUVANDAS K. PATEL
and VERGHESE KURIEN developed the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers'
Union. It was organized in 1948 by combining two village milk producers'
societies and a dairy processing 500 pounds of milk daily. Now President of
the Union, Mr. PATEL was the organizing genius in building this cooperative
effort. As Manager, Mr. KURIEN provided the necessary administrative and
scientific direction to a hardworking staff of specialists, laborers and
villager-aides. Rapid expansion, by 1962, had brought into the Milk
Producers' Union 219 farmer societies with 46,400 members. Milk processed in
that year grossed over US$6 million.
The Kaira Union was encouraged by the then Bombay State Government, which
contracted for its entire supply of pasteurized milk at stable, premium
prices. Veterinary and technical aid was extended to villagers and the
Public Works Department built new roads to facilitate collection of milk
from outlying villages. Providing repasteurizing and distribution facilities
for the milk from Anand was the Aarey Milk Colony near Bombay.
A substantial increase in dry season milk production at Anand was stimulated
by year-round requirements of the Aarey Colony. To absorb the surplus thus
created during the more productive winter months the Kaira Union ventured
into milk processing. Generous financial assistance came from the Bombay
Government and other help from UNICEF, New Zealand under the Colombo Plan
and several foreign countries. The new plant was the first in India to
produce milk powder, condensed milk and special powdered milk for babies. It
is the first in the world to convert buffalo milk into powdered milk. Now
marketing these products under the trade name of AMUL through their own
all-India sales organization, the Union's concern is further expansion to
meet mounting orders.
These advances have raised the quality of the dairy industry in Anand as
farmer-owners under tutelage of their Union leaders gradually accept new
ideas of feeding and caring for cattle and handling milk.
As evidence of their pioneering leadership, DARA N. KHURODY, TRIBHUVANDAS K.
PATEL and VERGHESE KURIEN today are asked to help initiate similar agencies
elsewhere in India. Their efforts have become a model of accomplishment by
patient but determined joining of government concern with the capabilities
and aspirations of ordinary farmers.
In electing these three men to receive the 1963 Ramon Magsaysay Award for
Community Leadership, the Board of Trustees recognizes their creative
coordination of government and private enterprise to improve the supply of
an essential food and sanitation in one of Asia's largest and most crowded
urban complexes and to raise living standards among village producers.