Metrohm and the Milk Revolution in India

This story goes back to India in 1946, coincidentally around the time Metrohm was being born far, far away in Herisau, Switzerland.

More than seven decades ago, the life of a farmer in India was not easy. The income came almost entirely from seasonal, rain-dependent crops and the poorer lot faced starvation during off-season. The marketing and distribution of milk and milk products was under the firm control of contractors and middlemen. Milk being a perishable item, farmers were often obliged to sell it for whatever price they were offered.

The year 1946 marked the beginning of the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Limited, Anand in Gujarat, India, the predecessor of Amul (Amul, the acronym for Anand Milk Union Limited is an Indian dairy cooperative). Its objective: To offer proper marketing facilities for the milk producers of the Anand district. The Union began pasteurizing milk in mid-1948 for the Bombay Milk Scheme—just a handful of farmers in two village co-operative societies producing approximately 250 liters a day.


Where it all began  Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Limited, Anand, Gujarat, India during the original days

In 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri, then Prime Minister of India, visited Anand for the inauguration of Amul’s Cattle Feed Plant. Having spent a night with farmers of Kaira, he expressed the wish to the General Manager of Amul, Mr. Varghese Kurien, to replicate the Amul model throughout the country, because it would bring a great change in the socio-economic condition of the people. To make this dream a reality, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was established at Anand and by 1969–1970, NDDB came out with the dairy development program for India, popularly known as «Operation Flood» or «White Revolution». The Operation Flood program, even today, continues to be the largest dairy development program in the world. This saw Amul as a model worth replicating all over the country and is often referred in the history of the White Revolution as «Anand Pattern». The replication of the «Anand Pattern» has helped India to emerge as the largest milk producing nation in the world. Mr. Kurien is fondly referred to as the Milkman of India.


Dr. Varghese Kurien, the father of White Revolution in India, who made dairy farming India’s largest self-sustaining industry and rural employment provider.


The author with the «old, true and trustful Acidometer», which looks as good as new despite a seemingly infinite number of analyses of milk and protein samples done over two decades

Fast-forward to 1998: Six months after joining Micro Devices Metrohm Limited, which is known as Metrohm India today, I, C. S. Ramachandran, installed a titrator of the model 702 SM Titrino at Mother Dairy, Delhi for evaluating acidity of milk samples. Mother Dairy was commissioned in 1974 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the NDDB. The user of the titrator was Mr. Mathura Prasad. After a few months had passed, we had a great relationship going, as with many other customers. It led to a few more titration systems being purchased as time passed by. The customer liked the way the «Acidometer», as they had christened it, helped them cope with the milk tankers coming in by the minute.


Mr. Prasad with his 877 Titrino Plus

And now to the present: I made a courtesy visit to Mother Dairy last February and was pleasantly surprised to see the 20-year old instrument still in perfect working condition. I was also glad to meet with Mr. Prasad after a long time. Needless to say, it was a gratifying and enjoyable meeting that led to a fond recollection of the olden days. Even though they recently purchased a new titrator—77 Titrino Plus—, they informed me that there was no perceptible difference in results between the «old workhorse» 702 SM Titrino and the new model.


A map of India showing the flow of fresh milk to Mother Dairy from various small towns in Northern and Western India. Mother Dairy has created a market leadership position for itself in branded milk segment in Delhi & National Capital Region through a robust network of collection and retail channels.

Courtesy: Some of the text and pictures have been taken from

Footnote: Mother Dairy is an ISO 9001:2008 (QMS), ISO 22000:2005 (FSMS) and ISO 14001:2004 (EMS) certified organization. Quality of milk is of paramount importance for the company and hence it has invested extensively in installing hi-tech automated machines to ensure high product quality/reliability and safety. The company is committed to uphold institutional structures that empower milk producers and farmers through processes that are equitable. A significant portion of its income is plowed back into the value chain to support and maintain the system.

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