Livestock rearing and diary are as important a source of income to the farmers as agriculture is to them. For ages the farmers have learnt to live with their cattle and take care of them like the members of the family.
The cattle yield milk and milk producers for farmer’s family as a course of much needed protein and for sale to others in the village ad outside. As a source of income they are to supplement the income from farming.
Animal husbandry improvement thus formed an integral part of the agricultural development programmes from the early stages of economic development in the country.
Veterinary services, artificial dissemination, cross breeding facilities and better breeds of cattle were provided to the farmers both for farming in which bullocks and he buffaloes are the main draught power and for dairying.
With all that, the production of milk was not keeping pace with the rising population and the per capita availability of milk in the country came down.
As against a consumption of 132 grams per head per day in 1951 the level declined to 108 grams in 1966 and drooped further to 107 by 1969-70.
Obviously the production of milk was not rising as fact s the population was growing and cities and towns were experiencing severe shortages. The supply of milk decreased causing hardships to the consumers.
Meanwhile Anand was forging ahead and processing of milk and production plains of milk, paneer, butter and other items were also a success.
In 1970, the Indian government decided that the Anand model should be replicated gradually all over the country.
The milk producing farmers could be enthused to get better yields are re-invest their savings in more milk-producing cattle if they were properly organised in cooperatives in which they were co-shares and participated as members of an organisation.
This realisation helped in extending the Anand experiment to other parts of the country. It was then that the Operation Flood was lunched and the urban consuming areas of the four metropolitan cities of Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay and Mardas were brought with closer relationship with rural producers through the cooperatives.
The rural milk production and procurement centres were linked with the urban demand centres and processing capacity stepped up substantially.
By the end of operation flood-I-there were 13,000 Anand pattern dairy cooperatives in 39 districts milk unions in the country. They handled three million litres of milk daily.
In 1979, Operation Flood-II was lunched, a much larger programme which was to strive to bring a large number of small and big towns apart from the metropolitan centers into the coverage of the milk flood.
More than seven million litres of milk is now procured and processed every day. The procurement centres buy even the extra milk which the producers bringing, as milk supply goes up considerably in winter months.
Practically all states with the exception of Meghalaya and four Union Territories have been brought into the network of the programme and by 1985 there were four million farm families organised into village milk cooperatives whose number was more than 40,000.
As many as 147 towns are availing of the benefits of the Flood from well organised 155 milk sheds or clusters of milk cooperatives in the villages.
The per capita availability and consumption of milk per day has gone up to 147 grams from 107 grams to which it had declined in 1969-70. For a healthy nation this is by no means adequate and more ground has to be covered.
What has, however, been achieved has to be seen against the background of hardship which people have gone through and the immense benefits the programme has conferred on the farmers in the villages where the milk cooperatives has been organised.
Apart from the Anand pattern cooperatives, there were also 2,800 other conventional milk societies in different parts of the country in 1985-86, but they were also being gradually restructured on the Anand model.
The total milk processing capacity in the country now exceeds 10 million litres. Besides there is daily capacity for producing 532.5 tonnes of milk powder.
The planned growth of milk production, procurement, marketing and processing has also stimulated the development of a number of other activities like production of cattle feed, production of packing materials and laminated paper in which milk is sold in urban areas.
The training of management personnel, village co-operatives personnel and even the producer member is also systematically organised in training institutes which are at Anand, Mehsana, Palanpur in Gujurat, Siliguri in West Bengal, Jalandhar in Punjab and Erode in Tamil Nadu.