India Dairy

Context and background

Amul (note 1) derives its name from a Sanskrit word, Amoolya, which means “priceless”. It is the biggest dairy cooperative in India, based in Anand, in the state of Gujarat. It had its genesis in pre-independence India when the dairy sector was dominated by private companies that exploited the poor farmers.

In 1946, the milk producers in the state of Gujarat, led by Sardar Vallabhai Patel, started developing revolutionary ideas against the privately owned Polson dairy and established the first cooperative society: the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Limited (KDCMPUL). The motto “No Cooperation, No Progress!” started spreading very fast and milk was used as a symbol of protest against British hegemony, through a 15-day farmers’ strike.

Amul is the foremost dairy brand name in India and has held its position against competition from international giants such as Nestlé.

(Note 1) Although Amul and NDDB are presented as one case study, they are in fact two separate chains that compete with each other under their respective brand names: Amul and Mother Dairy.