ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dairy Cooperatives in India

A Review

The dairy business accounts for 30% of the world’s output. Owing to the significant consumption of water, feed, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions, the dairy sector is under acute stress. Milk cooperatives play a significant role in ensuring food security, livelihood, and women’s participation Indian cooperatives are primarily restricted to sugar, dairying, and handloom sectors. Cooperatives have mostly failed to perform as per expectations, barring milk and sugar cane cooperatives, specifically in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Therefore, an attempt has been made to explore various issues in dairy cooperatives.

Cooperatives may be defined as peoples associations that combine resources to accrue incremental benefits from an enterprise vis--vis sole proprietorship. Apart from performing business operations and attaining operational efficiency, cooperatives also strive to fulfil social objectives, such as self-empowerment, mutual accord, and equal participation of all, for the social and economic emancipation of their members. The concept of cooperatives is a step ahead of the trusteeship concept given by M K Gandhi (Gopinath 2005), in that the custodians of the enterprise are not capitalists or the rich but those lower down the economic hierarchy. The notion draws its sanctity from deontology as members in the cooperative framework have equal veto power. Cooperatives help small farmers to realise higher output prices and favourable terms to obtain credit and, thus, can save them from the interlocking of product and factor markets (Patibandla and Sastry 2004). The key focus of the Organic Valley farmer cooperative, based in the United States, is sustaining high and stable prices, a unique approach vis--vis traditional cooperatives and conventional dairy farms. Similarly, Pitnica, a dairy cooperative in Poland, assists farmer milk suppliers, protects employees, and promotes eco-friendly activities (Fiore et al 2020).

Cooperatives have ensured the highest producer participation (ILO 2002: 2) through the guarantee of distribution of wealth rather than return on investment. Cooperatives are the most common form of producers organisations in the rural non-farm sector in India and beyond. The success of Indian cooperatives may be primarily found in the sugar, dairy, and handloom sectors. However, most cooperatives, barring the milk and sugar enterprises in Maharashtra and Gujarat, have failed to perform as per expectations. The member base is extremely dense in the case of milk cooperatives. Gujarat alone constitutes 3.18 million producers as the member base of the Anand Milk Union Limited (AMUL), followed by Nandini, Karnatakas milk federation, comprising 2.22 million members. Therefore, an attempt has been made to explore the dairy enterprise, specifically milk cooperatives. As an important source of livelihood, we need to investigate the sector further.

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Published On : 9th Mar, 2024

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