Amul was found on 19 December 1946 as a response to the exploitation of small dairy farmers by traders and agents. At the time, milk prices were arbitrarily determined, giving Polson an effective monopoly in milk collection from Kaira and its subsequent supply to Mumbai.
Frustrated with the trade practices (which they perceived as unfair), the farmers of Kaira, led by Tribhuvandas Patel, approached Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who advised them to form a cooperative. If they did so, they would be able to directly supply their milk to the Bombay Milk Scheme instead of working for Polson. Sardar Patel sent Morarji Desai to organise the farmers.
Following a meeting in Chaklasi, the farmers formed the cooperative and resolved not to provide Polson with any more milk. Milk collection was decentralised, as most producers were marginal farmers who could deliver, at most, 1–2 litres of milk per day. Cooperatives were formed for each village. By June 1948, the KDCMPUL had started pasteurising milk for the Bombay Milk Scheme. Then-Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri visited Anand to inaugurate Amul’s cattle feed factory. On 31 October 1964, he spoke to farmers about their cooperative. After returning to Delhi, he set in motion the creation of an organisation, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), to replicate the Kaira cooperative in other parts of India. Under the leadership of Tribhuvandas Patel, in 1973, Amul celebrated its 25th anniversary with Morarji Desai, Maniben Patel, and Verghese Kurien.
The cooperative was further developed through the efforts of Verghese Kurien and H. M. Dalaya. Dalaya’s innovation of making skim milk powder from buffalo milk was a technological breakthrough that revolutionised India’s organised dairy industry.
With Kurien’s help, the process was expanded on a commercial scale, which led to the first modern dairy cooperative at Anand. This cooperative would go on to compete against the established players in the market.
The success of the trio (T. K. Patel, Kurien, and Dalaya) at the cooperative’s dairy soon spread to Anand’s neighborhood in Gujarat. Within a short span, five unions in other districts – Mehsana, Banaskantha, Baroda, Sabarkantha, and Surat – were set up, following the approach sometimes described as the Anand pattern.
In 1970, the cooperative spearheaded the “White Revolution” of India. To combine forces and expand the market while saving on advertising and avoiding competing against each other, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd., an apex marketing body of these district cooperatives, was set up in 1973. The Kaira Union, which had the brand name Amul with it since 1955, transferred it to GCMMF. Technological developments at Amul have subsequently spread to other parts of India.
In 1999, it was awarded the “Best of All” Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award.
The GCMMF is the largest food product marketing organisation in India. As the apex organisation of the dairy cooperatives of Gujarat, it is the exclusive marketing organisation for products under the brand name Amul and Sagar. For more than five decades, dairy cooperatives in Gujarat have created an economic network that links more than 3.1 million village milk products with crores of consumers in India. In 2007, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd crossed US$1 billion in its sales turnover and entered the elite club of food companies having this distinction from India. In one more major achievement, the dairy cooperatives of Gujarat under the GCMMF fold crossed the mark of milk procurement of 10 million kilograms per day on 27 December 2007, which is the highest ever milk procurement achieved by any dairy network in India, be it private or cooperative. The entire quantity of milk received was accepted without any milk holidays and was processed successfully into milk and other milk products.
In 2018, Amul inaugurated a new chocolate plant in Mogar, Anand, near their headquarters, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance. The new plant has been built with an increased capacity of 1,000 tonnes per month against the earlier 250 tonnes per month capacity. GCMMF has invested around ₹3 billion in this project. It is a fully automated production factory with minimal human intervention.
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