It has now become the first Indian co-operative to cross the billion-dollar Rubicon
The Gujarat Co-operative milk marketing federation (GCMMF), the producers of Amul brand products, reported on Friday that its 2006-07 revenues stood at $1.06 million.
Amul was formally registered on December 14, 1946. Fifty years ago farmers income was derived almost entirely from seasonal crops. The income from milk buffaloes was undependable. Milk producers had to travel long distances to deliver milk to the only dairy, the Polson Dairy in Anand – often milk went sour, especially in the summer season, as producers had to physically carry milk in individual containers
Private traders and middlemen controlled the marketing and distribution system for the milk. These middlemen decided the prices and the off-take from the farmers by the season. As milk is perishable, farmers were compelled to sell it for whatever they were offered. Often, they had to sell cream and ghee at throw-away prices. In this situation, the private trader made a killing
India ranked nowhere amongst milk producing countries in the world in 1946. Gradually, the realization dawned on the farmers with inspiration from then nationalist leaders Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (who later became the first Home Minister of free India) and Morarji Desai (who later become the Prime Minister of India) and local farmer, freedom fighter and social worker Tribhuvandas Patel, that the exploitation by the trader could be checked only if they marketed their milk themselves. Amul was the result of the realization that they could pool up their milk and work as a cooperative.
In 1954, Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union built a plant to convert surplus milk produced in the cold seasons into milk powder and butter. In 1973, the milk societies/district level unions decided to set up a marketing agency to market their products. This agency was the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF).
GCMMF is India's largest food products marketing organisation. GCMMF chairman Parthibhai Bhatol said, “This is an impressive achievment, considering the ban on export earnings, and the massive losses suffered by the farmers due to floods last year, especially in Surat.”