What was the contribution of Sardar Patel in Dairy Sector of India?
Sardar Patel has not only been a unifying factor of a divided country but also his devotion to the cause of farmers was unmatchable. As India inaugurates the statue of unity, the statue of Sardar Patel it would be interesting to recollect Patel’s contribution to Indian dairy farmers.
Patel’s contribution to dairy sector
- In 1942, the British tapped a private dairy, Polson to procure milk from Kaira district in Gujarat and supply it to Bombay.
- This made the beginning of the government’s Bombay Milk Scheme (BMS) and the creation of a market for Kaira’s milk producers.
- As a result there established a Polson’s monopoly over the Bombay market, as a seller and as a buyer from Kaira farmers.
- This resulted in exploitation of farmers. As a monopolist and monopsonist, the company extracted large rents by squeezing the prices it offered the farmers.
- The farmers approached Sardar Patel. Patel urged them to organise cooperatives and cut supplies to Polson and he asked Morarji Desai to take the issue forward.
- Farmers held a 15-day strike against BMS and spilled milk on the streets, instead of supplying it to Polson.
- This broke the Palsons monopoly and the Bombay market was opened for direct supply of milk from Kaira farmers.
- As a result the farmers got access to a lucrative market.
- Farmers formed countries first farmers’ integrated dairy cooperative — the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union, which was registered in 1946.
- The father of white revolution Verghese Kurien joined the cooperative as a general manager and set up the first processing plant at Anand to convert excess buffalo milk into milk powder and cheese.
This approach of Sardar Patel made his name inseparable from the dairy sector in India.