Dr Varghese Kurien

Dr Varghese Kurien is the man behind the success of Operation Flood, the movement that helped treble the country's milk production, making itself-sufficient in the production of milk and milk products.

India is a land of villages and a majority of the farmers of these villages keep milch cows and buffaloes. They sell the milk in towns and cities. India leads in the production of milk, but as the villagers were not working in cooperation with each other, they did not benefit from the sale of the milk. This also affected the production of milk. Verghese Kurien formed a co-operative society of such farmers that not only took care of poof, marginal farmers, but also inspired them to expand their business. In this way he lead the foundation of the dairy industry.

Kurien studied engineering at the Michigan University in America. Back in India in 1949, he took up a job at Anand in Gujarat. His dream of improving the farmers lives was fulfilled by the milk co-operatives. Today, the Anand Co-operative is a well-known industry and the name AMUL is famous the world over.

Very few people know who really was the inspiration behind the co-operative movement. It was Sardar Patel who first worked towards the betterment of the farmers of the area. Later he entrusted the work of improving the living standard of villagers of Kaira and the adjoining areas to Tribhuvandas Patel, who mobilised milk producers into cooperatives. 

When Varghese Kurien went to Anand, he changed the concept of dairying. He established a network of veterinary service and cattle-breading centers. In 1965 he took over as the head of the National Dairy Development Board. He proposed establishing the 'Anand Pattern' all over the country. In 1970 came operation Flood - a movement that involved 170 million people. It has the credit of being the largest dairy development network in the world. Around six million dairy owners belonging to 75,000 village cooperatives supply milks to 500 towns and cities. Operation Flood has helped stabilise milk prices in the country and ensure the supply of fresh, hygienic milk. India has ceased to developed on milk imports and the co-operative provides a source of regular income to the farmers. Apart from whole and skimmed milk, Anand produces condensed milk, butter, cheese, and cheese spreads.

Varghese Kurien has been honored with several national and international awards. The award include the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan, the Magsaysay Award, the world Food Prize and the Padma Vibhushan. But Varghese Kurien is a modest man. He says that he owes his success ti the farmers of Gujarat.        

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