By making sure that dairy farmers stick to a single queue for procurement at the cooperatives, Verghese Kurien blurred socioeconomic divides while ushering in the White Revolution in the country, the legendary Milk Man’s daughter Nirmala Kurien said on Sunday.
The social entrepreneur’s insistence that farmers, irrespective of their capacity to contribute to milk production, should stand in just one line and with not more than a vessel was “revolutionary” in the movement the icon initiated in the 1970s, Nirmala Kurien, also a human resources expert, recalled at a Milma event at Angalamy in Ernakulam district.
Into the 1990s, when India initiated liberalisation, Kurien viewed the series of policy changes with suspicion, Nirmala noted in Verghese Kurien’s memorial lecture at Adlux Convention Centre.
“He was fine with foreign investment in industry, but not so with the farming sector,” she noted at the function that was inaugurated online by Kerala Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Minister J Chinchurani.
At the function chaired by Roji M John, MLA, the Minister said Milma, which is the brand name for the 1980-founded Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (KCMMF), continues to implement its programmes with the total participation of the three-tier Panchayati Raj as envisaged by Kurien.

“Milma is implementing a range of measures for the welfare of dairy farmers,” Chinchurani said. “The government is committed to enabling milk farmers to curtail their production expenses, including the prices of cattle feed and allied inputs.”
Legislator John lauded the efforts of Amul, which initially hired Kurien in 1949, as the general manager of the Anand Milk Union Limited, a cooperative society based in Gujarat. Speaking about the present state of the dairy sector in Kerala, he emphasised the need for controlling the prices of cattle feed for dairying to be profitable.
Benny Behanan, MP, launched a comprehensive cattle insurance policy in the state. The event was attended by 1,500 milk farmers.
Milma Chairman KS Mani, while recalling his personal association with Kurien who went on to serve as the Chairman of Amul, said Kerala had the potential to top the country’s states when it came to productivity of milk, though not necessarily in its quantity.
“Today, Kerala serves as a model for milk cooperatives in the country. Through re-positioning, Milma has succeeded in bringing out products that stand on part with dairy companies of global repute,” Mani said, adding that the cooperative’s recent agreement with Lulu Group will further enable it to make inroads into the international market.
The Thiruvananthapuram-headquartered KCMMF was established as a state adjunct of the National Dairy Programme ‘Operation Flood’ with 450 dairy farmers producing a total of 52,000 litres of milk.
According to the officials, the cooperative societies under Milma total 3,300 and the milk procured has risen to more than 14 lakh litres a day. Every day, Milma distributes more than 17 lakh litres of milk, while its dairy products come out in 100-plus varieties, clocking an annual turnover of Rs 4,000 crore. (ANI)