Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development

Connecting the Milk Grid

Smallholder dairy in India

Kenda Cunningham

Key period: 1970–1996

Geographic region: India

The intervention: Operation Flood, a dairy development program that ran from 1970 to 1996 in India, laid the foundation for the integration and growth of the national dairy industry. In the process of linking India’s major cities with rural cooperatives, Operation Flood brought significant technological advances into the rural milk sector, commercialized smallholder dairy production, and transformed the policy environment in support of dairy industry growth. Of the program’s 9 million direct beneficiaries, 73 percent were small, marginal, and landless farmers who saw their incomes double from this intervention. Since 1970, India’s dairy industry has steadily grown. India has been transformed from a dairy-importing nation to a top producer of milk in the world; millions of consumers have benefited from improved access to milk and other dairy products.

Book Chapter:
Connecting the Milk Grid: Smallholder dairy in India
Kenda Cunningham
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Discussion Paper:
Rural and urban linkages: Operation flood’s role in India’s dairy development
Cunningham, Kenda. 2009. IFPRI Discussion Paper 924.
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