Role and Contribution of Dairy Cooperatives in Development of India

Kuldeep Dudi1, Rajbir Garg2 and Satpal Singh3

1District Extension Specialist (Animal Science), 2Sr. Coordinator and Principal Extension Specialist (Agronomy), 3District Extension Specialist (Extension Education) CCS Haryana Agricultural University- KrishiVigyan Kendra-Panipat (Haryana)

With a total 221.06 million tonnes milk production (BAHS, 2022), India is presently the highest milk producing country in the world (FAO). The annual increment in milk production is 5.29% over the previous year (BAHS, 2022) against world average of 1.34% and compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of milk products is 5.57% from 2010-11 to 2021-22. So the dairy sector provides a nutritional and economic security to India and particularly rural household along with women empowerment as dairy is primarily a women centric activity. Millions of rural households now rely heavily on dairy farming as a secondary source of income, and it now plays a crucial role in giving marginal and female farmers in particular access to job and money-generating opportunities.All credit for this rapid and sustained growth is given to the cooperative movement in Indian dairy sector.

According to the NDDB research, just 20% of the total amount of milk produced is consumed by the organised sector, while 34% of the total amount of milk produced is sold to the unorganized sector.  Locals use the remaining 46% of the milk. Government, producer-owned institutions (such as milk cooperatives and producer companies), and private entities make up the organised sector, which offers a fair and transparent system of milk collecting year-round at the village level. Local milkmen, dudhias, contractors, and other individuals work in the unorganised or informal sector. These individuals are frequently seen to be opportunistic because there is no set price for milk that is paid to producers; rather, it varies depending on the circumstance. These unorganised groups have a higher risk of adulterating milk.Cooperatives and producer companies are the main players in the organised sector, with cooperatives dominating with an 80% share of total revenue (NDDB, 2017).India’s cooperative development has not been uniform throughout the nation; the cooperative structures in the country’s northern and western regions are stronger than those in its southern and eastern regions.

History of dairy co-operative in India:

The cooperative movement was born in India in the final decade of the 19th century with the passage of “the Co-operative Credit Societies Act, 1904 (Act 10 of 1904)” under British hegemony, based on the Raiffeisen model imported from Germany, and with the dual goals of defending farmers from the hands of private money lenders and enhancing their economic situation. This movement was started in the province of Madras. The movement began to spread throughout our country after an agricultural cooperative bank was established there. However, while British control, India’s cooperative movement very slowly and haphazardly expanded.

The evolution of dairying in India has been heavily influenced by the dairy cooperative movement.  This movement was only present in a few areas of Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Gujarat prior to India’s independence. The most renowned of these businesses was Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Limited of Anand, Gujarat, also known as Amul, which was established in 1946 as a reaction to the exploitation of the dairy farmers in the district. The nationalist revolutionaries and Ghandianideology had an impact on dairy farmers, which led to the development of dairy cooperatives.

Following independence, the National Government showed tremendous initiative by establishing fresh dairy cooperatives around the nation.In 1965, the government adopted this effective strategy and established the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), which created a roadmap for a nationwide milk revolution. Dr. VergheseKurien, widely renowned as the “Father of White Revolution” in India, was the first chairman of NDDB. Operation Flood was the name of the nationwide programme that started in 1970. With a record output of 88.1 million tonnes in 2003-04, it was also one of the largest rural development schemes in the world and contributed to India being the largest milk producer in the world.

India dairy cooperative structure is three tier structures also called as Anand pattern. Its basic unit is village milk producers’ cooperative society, then milk union and milk federation at the top. Funtions of village level dairy cooperative societies are- managerial (making the society as per bye-laws, deciding policy matters and framing guidelines for efficient running of the society) and other function being operational (milk trading and providing input services).Functions of a second tier, Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union include Procuring, processing and marketing milk and milk products, Arranging /Providing macro level inputs like cattle-feed, animal health and breeding care, etc., arrange for training and education of managing committee members, staff, and members of dairy cooperative society and also for the Board members, managers and staff of the milk union.The important functions of the third tier; state milk marketing federation, are marketing of milk and milk products, managing production planning and State Milk Grid (movement of milk within the state) and Coordinate with state government, central government, NDDB and other agencies.

According to Fullzele and Meena (1995), women predominate in the dairy industry in India. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, women have traditionally contributed to dairy and animal husbandry tasks in addition to their regular household responsibilities (Belurkar et al., 2003). Although women play a big and important part in raising cattle, their contributions have not received the recognition they merit. They will always be unnoticed employees (Chayal et al., 2009). Women spend more time in dairy farming than males since they performed the majority of the tasks involved. According to John and Thirunavukkarasu (2002), farm women engaged in various dairy farm tasks for roughly 294.34 minutes per day.Dairy cooperatives are currently viewed as the most significant step towards improving the milk marketing system in rural areas, increasing the farmers’ share of consumer rupees, and empowering the rural populace, particularly women.  Women-focused approaches were encouraged as part of the strategy that resulted in the formation of a sufficient number of women dairy cooperative societies at the village level. The idea was that these Women Dairy Cooperatives (WDCs) would serve as a source of additional income and a formalised forum for addressing a variety of grievances, including social, personal, and other issues.The WDCs place a strong focus on the fact that the project will assist rural women in many ways, including capacity building and the ability to learn by inference thanks to their ownership and management of milch animals. To alter and enhance the women dairy cooperatives for improved women’s empowerment, it is necessary to assess the extent to which these cooperatives were successful in fulfilling the goal of women’s empowerment. Dash et al., 2020 reported that after joining the WDCS, the women’s financial situation has significantly changed. Many local women who work as wage workers have been inspired to start dairy farming by government incentives like training and awareness programmes, simple milk marketing through WDCS, consistent income, and employment.  After joining the milk Union, the cooperative’s members report feeling more economically independent. With the money from the dairy business, they can provide their kids better educations. These ladies now feel more capable of handling challenging circumstances like food shortages and droughts.With the money from the milk sales, several of them have acquired one to two acres of property. About ten female dairy producers reported that they had refurbished the home while using the dairy income. They all joined SHGs and take advantage of the lending facilities when necessary. As a result of joining the milk cooperative, social engagement and knowledge sharing have grown for these rural women.



  • There are 27 state/UT level marketing federations.
  • At present, there are 228 dairy cooperative milk unions in India.
  • Total2,28,374 village-level dairy cooperative societies are there under these milk unions (NDDB, 2021-22).
  • 18 million farmerproducer members arelinked to dairy-cooperatives(NDDB, 2021-22).
  • Currently, total milk procurementthrough cooperativesis 58.7 million kg per day out of which 39 million liters (around 65%) is being sold as liquid milk while rest as value added products (NDDB, 2021-22).

Milk Production

  • India’s milk production increased from 21.2 million MT in 1968 to 221.06 million MT in 2021-22.
  • India contributes around 23% of the world milk production (economic survey, 2021-22).
  • Per capita availability of milk in 2021-22 is 445 grams per day, up from 112 grams per day in 1968-69.
  • India’s 5.29 percent annual growth of milk production which is much above the 0.8 per cent growth in its population.


  • The total size of dairy market was about Rs. 13.17 lakh crore in 2021 (DAHD&F, 2023).
  • The dairy market has been growing at about 15 % per annum during last 15 years and is expected to reach a market size of about Rs. 30.84 lakh crore by 2027.
  • The sale of liquid milk by the cooperative dairies was about 411.53 lakh litres per day during the year 2021-22 up to November 2022 as compared to 373.09 lakh litres per day during last year same period registering an increase of about 5.49%.

Revenue/ Income:

  • Dairy is the single largest agricultural commodity; it contributes 5% to national economy.
  • As an industry, it employs more than 80 million rural households, with the majority being small and marginal farmers as well as the landless.
  • Milk was procured at an average of 484.14 Lakh Kilogram per Day and was sold at an average of 441.10 Lakh Litre per Day (DAHD&F, 2023).
  • An average of Rs. 43.45 /-per kg milk procurement price for milk with 6% fat and 9% SNF was paid by Major Milk Cooperatives of the country. The average sale price was Rs.56.32 per litre
  • The annual value of India’s milk production amounts to about Rs. 880 billion.


Apart from of Creation/strengthening of Milk Processing, Value addition & chilling facilities, various other facilities are being provided and strengthened. These include Cattle feed / feed supplement plants, Milk transportation system (Refrigerated van/insulated tankers etc), Marketing infrastructure (including e-market system, bulk vending system, Parlour, deep freezer, cold storage etc, Commodity and Cattle feed go-downs, ICT (e.g. block chain technology, servers, IT solutions, Near Real Time devices etc), Renewable energy infrastructure/ plants, trigen/ energy efficiency infrastructure. In all three cases, the energy generated or saved must be for the benefit of running cost of the existing plant/ BMC unit/ Milk collection unit etc., Pet bottle/packaging material manufacturing units for dairy purposes etc., Training centre (complete with civil and other necessary infrastructure), organic milk,  R& D etc.


Currently, a dairy cooperative network covers around 35% of the villages, and the organised dairy industry is expanding at a rate of roughly 10-12% /year (AMUL 2019).  Despite this, there hasn’t been a national uniformity in the coverage of dairy cooperatives.  According to a study by Kale et al. (2016), Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are the states with the strongest cooperative marketing structures. Himachal Pradesh had the weakest structure, followed by Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab.  The patterns and differences in cooperative coverage can be viewed as the results of internal and external factors affecting cooperative development and the development of the dairy industry.


India’s dairy cooperative is largest cooperative dairy in world. The dairy cooperative is proving a nutritional and economic security to India. It not only bringing the unorganised dairy sector into organised sector but also aims to improve health, animal productivity, women empowerment and a better life for rural farmers.

List of dairy cooperative brands of each state

State/UTBrand nameState/UTBrand name
DelhiMother dairyBiharSudha
Jammu & KashmirSnow capWest BengalBenmilk
Himachal PradeshHimSikkimSikkimilk
UttrakhandAanchalGoaGoa Dairy
Uttar pradeshParagAndhra PradeshVijaya
Madhya PradeshSanchiKarnatakaNandini
GujaratAmulTamil naduAavin
MaharshtraMahanand, Gokul, Warana, DudhPandhari, Rajhans, Katraj. Shivamrut, Krishna, Konya, DevgiriMahanand, Kisan, Nandan, Vasant, Godavari

Logo of different Indian dairy cooperative brands: