Women and Cooperative Dairy Farming 

  • IASbaba
  • April 1, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Women and Cooperative Dairy Farming 

Context: The achievements of women dairy farmers in contributing to India’s ‘White Revolution’ are perhaps the greatest cause for celebrating the Women’s History Month in March

Women and Cooperative Dairy Farming

  • Substantive Participation of Women: There are more than 1,90,000 dairy cooperative societies across the country, with approximately 6 million women members.
  • Increased incomes: The Cooperative model that has advantages of greater control by farmers, economical for small & marginal farmers, transparency, regularity of payment and training facilities has increased the incomes of millions of women dairy farmers in India. In 2020, Amul Dairy released a list of 10 women dairy farmers who became millionaires by selling milk to the company. 
  • Freedom from clutches of middlemen: Dairy cooperatives models that were at the heart of Operation Flood made it possible to enhance backward and forward linkages in the dairy value chain, paving the way for freeing small farmers from the clutches of middlemen, and guaranteed minimum procurement price for milk.
  • Improved access to Skill Training: National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) now organises farmer’s orientation programmes across the country, under which women farmers are trained in scientific best practices on animal health, fodder quality, clean milk production, and accounts management.
  • Rise of women-led dairy unions and companies: The NDDB has played a proactive role in setting up women-led producer enterprises like Shreeja Mahila Milk Producer Company, which was started with 24 women and now has more than 90,000 members, with an annual turnover of approximately ₹450 crore.
  • Promotes Leadership amongst women: Women-led cooperatives also provide fertile ground for grooming women from rural areas for leadership positions. In many instances, this becomes the first step for women in breaking free from traditional practices.
  • Creation of better assets: A study across Rajasthan showed that with the income generated through dairying, 31% of the women had converted their mud houses to cement structures, while 39% had constructed concrete sheds for their cattle.
  • Helps overcome structural obstacles:  Many women who never had access to education or formal employment have experienced a life transformation after they became a member of the Cooperative Milk Union. This helped women, especially single parents, to increase their incomes and lead a dignified life.
  • Bridges information asymmetry: Major challenge in Dairy sector is information asymmetry among farmers. Statistics indicate that small and marginal farmers have access to only 50-70% of the resources that large and medium farmers have. However, the presence of collectives in the form of cooperatives and milk unions plays a significant role in enhancing the knowledge and bargaining power of women.
  • Learning New Skills: Many of women dairy farmers have not had a formal education, but through the process of dairying and working with larger collectives, such as milk unions and cooperatives, they have mastered the nuances of finance and marketing.


For women dairy farmers, cooperatives and unions are a pathway to financial stability

Connecting the dots:

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