The New Indian special correspondent Alok Singh, who was in Gujarat’s Anand district for the assembly election coverage, caught up with Amul Dairy managing director Amit Vyas for a quick chat. Edited excerpts:
Alok Singh: Welcome to The New Indian, Mr Vyas. To begin with, please tell us about the origin of the brand name Amul.
Amit Vyas: Farmers of Khera district approached Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel under the leadership of local farmer TK Patel. They were fed up with the oppression by trade unions. They later got permission from the government to form a cooperative society. In 1946, Amul started with 246 litres of milk on its first day. Today Amul handles and processes 3 crore litre of milk every day. In 1949, Dr Verghese Kurien (known as the father of the white revolution in India) came here and helped with technological advancement.
AMUL is an acronym for Anand Milk Union Limited. It has also a different aspect. The word Amul refers to Amulya or priceless.
AS: Is the name Amul decided at the start itself?
AV: At the time of inception, milk was sold under the name tag of Kaira District Milk Corporative Union. I brand name was needed for marketing. So, the ‘Amulya’ word came in thought. The name also has a linkage with Anand city.
AS: Elections are going on in Gujarat. Every voter, including businessmen, has hopes from the next government. What do you hope the next government to do?
AV: Milk and agriculture production contribute 20 to 25 per cent to the state GDP in Gujarat and every government so far has protected farmers. Till now, our self-reliant model has received support and encouragement from the government.
In the coming days, the government should focus on technologies that can make farmers’ produce cost-effective and market-effective. We are currently working on sorted sex semen, embryo transplant and digital bands to keep track of animals’ health. The government should focus on the promotion of these technologies among farmers, and also work to raise milk production per animal. The dairy and agriculture sector will not grow until we bring technology to these areas.
Amul is a fully digitalized and paperless company. Khera district is an example of 100 per cent digitalization. With the use of modern technologies and live tracking of animals, you can track the health of animals and take care of them in advance. It does not affect production.
We have doubled the production of milk in the last 4 years by using the method of sex sorting, which is focused birth of female calves only.
AS: Union Home minister Amit Shah is also the minister for cooperation.
AV: When he came here last year, the topic we decided to work on was organic stuff and organic fertilisers because Amul is associated with farmers. He inaugurated a hall where we now hold meetings with farmers associated with us.
Gujarat’s Anand is an inspiration for all farmers in India. Any new change in milk production starts here and then spreads to Gujarat and other parts of India.