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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Why the government ought not to intervene with Amul

But for the farmer-owner, it is the price paid for her milk that really matters, just as a company’s share price is for the investor-owner. In the last 20 years, the average procurement price paid to producers by GCMMF’s [Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation] district milk unions has gone up from Rs 184 to Rs 820 per kg of fat. Amul full-cream milk, containing 6 per cent fat, currently retails at Rs 63 per litre in Delhi. The producer’s share of that, at Rs 820/kg fat and 1.03 kg to a litre, works out to about Rs 50.7 or over 80 per cent. In other words, GCMMF is not just helping process and market the milk of farmers, but is also getting them the highest possible share in the consumer rupee.

How has this been possible? The simple answer is professional management. The Amul organisational model, from the time of Verghese Kurien to B M Vyas and R S Sodhi, has been based on an elected board of directors operating through a chief executive and his team, which include marketing and finance professionals, project engineers, veterinarians, agronomists and nutritionists.

This model has made GCMMF different from other state dairy cooperative federations, whose managing directors are usually Indian Administrative Service officers reporting to secretaries of animal husbandry and dairying departments. It’s not surprising that neither their boards nor managers are accountable to farmers; these are milk producers’ cooperatives only in name.

It is in this context that Sodhi’s recent exit as MD of GCMMF raises disturbing questions...

Read the rest at Indian Express


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