What started as a farmers’ cooperative movement in Bihar’s capital city of Patna has today been transformed into a INR 2000 crore revenue yielding commercial entity and acquired a popular household name status in the state as Sudha Dairy. Currently Sudha Dairy comprises 2600 co-operative milk societies. Sudha Dairy’s products have succeeded in penetrating the metro cities and boasts of reach even in the North Eastern states.
The commercial model has created history in Bihar where businesses are rarely run free from political clutches. The man instrumental in nurturing and effectuating this turnaround is the late Dr. Verghese Kurian famously hailed the Father of the White Revolution in the country. To bring about the change and transformation in the state of Bihar, Kurian partnered his enthusiasm and enterprise with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). Today it has turned into a source of lucrative employment to cattle farmers in the state.
To imagine the scale of effort and thought that had gone into this successful transformation, it must be borne in mind that a reluctant cattle farming community had to be rescued from the clutches of unscrupulous middlemen before the flailing financial fortunes of the plant could be rendered healthy and profitable. Recorded in annals of Bihar’s economy as launch of “Operation Flood” the cooperative movement that is now synonymous with Sudha Dairy has elevated the yield of milk from a meager 6000 liters per day to over 1 lakh litres per day over the decades.
Sudha Dairy comprises of 2600 co-operative milk societies and a INR 2000 crore revenue yielding commercial entity.
Besides negotiating the cultural hurdles the initiative had to deal with the business hazards posed by the perishable nature of milk and the logistics involved in its mode of transportation that involved bicycles, motorcycles and carriage by train. Their problem was further compounded by the presence of massive excess staff that adversely impacted the bottom lines.
The cooperative movement even though in the nascent stages managed to survive these adverse conditions largely because of Dr. Kurian’s ability and foresight in keeping it free of political interference. He also had a key role in ensuring that infrastructural issues like uninterrupted power supply were satisfactorily resolved. Besides, his deft handling of the overstaffing issue paved the way for setting up high productivity standards. Subsequently, the stalwart also took care to establish a equitable profit sharing model which provided the farmers and their families with financial security and comforts. To realize how phenomenal this effort was, one has to just take a glance at Sudha Dairy’s market presence that boasts of 2231 retailers and 38 wholesalers. The previous year’s statistics also sheds light on the phenomenal nature of growth. In 2017, Sudha Dairy had production figures which revealed the yield of 327.33 metric ton of Peda, 1010.999 metric ton of Paneer, 1324070 litres of ice cream, 314.958 metric ton of Misthty Dahi, 2052.347 metric ton of Dahi, 2881.706 litres of Lassi and 66863 litres of Chaas.
Currently cooling infrastructure has been set up at five major districts that include Nalanda, Shekhpura, Patna, Vaishali and Saran. Another bulk cooling unit is coming up at Hajipur. The unit is slated to have a capacity of 30 metric ton. Over the years, Sudha’s continued focus on animal fodder has helped the farmers with enhancing the nutritional requirement of cattle resulting in better quality of milk. To sum up, it’s a grand success story for Sudha Dairy.