M M Patel
During the initial years of the Operation Flood Project, NDDB organized important activities such as Farmer’s Induction Programs for farmers and Training cum Orientation Programs for newly recruited personnel of various milk unions. I had the opportunity to work on both.
From 1977 to 1978, I was posted at the NDDB head office in Anand as a team member of the Farmers Organization and Animal Husbandry (FO & AH) Group. Many fresh officers were recruited and inducted into the FO & AH Group of NDDB and also in the milk unions established under the Operation Flood Project.
The new recruits would receive training at village milk cooperative societies of Amul dairy on organizing milk cooperative societies in various parts of the country.
During this training initiative, I was named as the group leader of a group consisting of three officers: Shri Pradip Patel from Kaira district, Shri BB Raina from Kashmir state, and Shri Sanyal from Punjab state. Their backgrounds were in agriculture, dairy technology, and dairy husbandry, respectively.
I conducted training at village training centers in Vadtal, Ajarpura, and Shili, where we had overnight accommodation. I trained them on the daily workings of the society, society and union bylaws, milk collection, payment to producers, fat testing of milk, local milk sales, cattle feed sales, veterinary routes, artificial insemination, and preparing and interpreting profit and loss statements and balance sheets. I showed them the actual books and records for these transactions.
During the training, we visited farmers’ homes and studied their dairy husbandry practices, buffalo breeds, feeding, crop patterns, milk income, savings, and the impact of dairying on their lives. We also visited nearby societies during collection time in the evening, walking from one to another. I also took the opportunity to learn more from these officers about agriculture, dairy technology, and dairy husbandry, as they had studied these courses related to dairy activities.
While at Ajarpura, I informed the officers about the visit of then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri to the Ajarpura milk producers cooperative society and the subsequent discussion Shashtri Ji had with Dr. Kurien regarding establishing NDDB for dairy development on the Anand pattern in other parts of the country. We had a discussion with the chairman of the society, Shri Ramanbhai Patel, who was also the Chairman of Amul Dairy at that time. He spoke about the different phases of dairy development at Anand. We visited his field and talked about crop patterns. We saw the tube well for irrigation and enjoyed bathing in fresh water from the tube well.
Shri Pradip Patel was from a village near Anand, and his relatives were staying in villages near the training center. While visiting nearby societies, we met his relatives and had lunch or dinner at their houses. We also enjoyed dinner at the Amul quarter of Pradeep’s father, who was the Manager (Farm) at Amul Dairy, after completing the training.
At the end of the training program, we returned to the office in Anand. Shri NG Trivedi Sir informed us that the training period would be extended by a further 15 days and asked if the group members wished to change the group leader. The officers declined any change.
I was happy with my training work, and we went to other village training centers and completed the extended training program. I write this with fond remembrance of the days gone by.