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India's White Revolution
Operation Flood, Food Aid and Development. Library of Development Studies v. 1
As millions continue to face a future of food poverty, lessons can be learned by considering how farmer cooperatives succeeded in improving India's food security. 'Operation Flood', which revitalised the Indian dairy industry between 1970 and 1996, was the world's largest development programme, however critics accused it of luring India to neocolonial dependence on European surpluses. Eventually the perils of reliance on food aid were managed by proper pricing policies that both benefited rural farming families and wiped out urban 'milk famines'. In 2008 the World Bank hailed the programme's success and now promotes similar schemes in Africa. A detailed understanding of India's White Revolution is therefore imperative in the context of its future use in the developing world.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'This is an extremely well-documented and innovative analysis of the dairy cooperative initiative in India and its impact on small producers. Bruce A. Scholten provides a critical understanding of the role of global-local interaction in the growth and development of this sector and the resultant contradictions. An essential reading for researchers working on India's contemporary development scenario.' - Swapna Banerjee-Guha, Tata Institute of Social Science Mumbai, and author of Spatial Dynamics of International Capital; 'This is a fascinating and important book. Its account of Operation Flood and subsequent developments provides an important basis for understanding the modernisation of Indian agriculture - still a vital part of the country's ever-growing economy - and yields insights into India's relationships with its former aid donors and now trading partners. Bruce A. Scholten's analysis of the politics of dairying in India also tells us a great deal about centre vs. state politics and the problems of steering such a vast and diverse economy into the global era of the twenty-first century.' - Peter J. Atkins, Professor of Geography, Durham University, and co-author of Food in Society; 'This book is worth a serious look. Most publications on Operation Flood focus on minutiae, but India's White Revolution takes long-term data to show the national-scale success of cooperative dairying in India. After finishing his initial academic research on Operation Flood, Bruce A. Scholten visited Anand. He understood that European dairy gifts could have been a Trojan Horse to neo-colonial dependence. This book shows how farmers in the Anand Pattern monetised EEC commodities to improve India's food security. Now that the World Bank plans to replicate India's success in Africa, the world should understand how and why it worked. The book recounts the Jha Committee Report of 1984, which stressed the importance of price incentives to stimulate village milk production to multiply consumption in a growing population. I dreamed of a country where city people enjoy affordable dairy products, while farm families earn income, education and health benefits by producing that milk. Part of the dream has been fulfilled and the dairy revolution could be fully won, wherever the principles of cooperative farming are applied.' - Verghese Kurien, Chair (retired) National Dairy Development Board, winner 1989 World Food Prize, and author of I Too Had a Dream