On Day 3 of a short road trip in Gujarat, our final stop was the AMUL Dairy factory in Anand. I was very keen on visiting this factory although it meant we were driving 50 km further down from Vadodara to Anand. What made it trickier was the fact that the plant allowed visitors only between 2 to 4pm. So, not only were we driving to another city for just 1 attraction but also racing time to arrive between the fixed visiting hours.
But I was willing to go the extra mile (quite literally) to visit a factory that brought the White Revolution in India and changed the way dairy farming was practiced in the country.
Amul Dairy and its contribution to Indian dairy farming:
Amul or Anand Milk Union Ltd. is a milk co-operative established in 1946 in the city of Anand, Gujarat. It was formed to end mal-practices and exploitation of dairy farmers at the hands of milk middlemen and traders, particularly Polson diary who had a strong milk monopoly back then. Farmers in the region approached a social leader – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who in turn appointed Tribhuvandas Patel and Morarji Desai to organize the farmers and form small co-operatives. The co-operative initially started as Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers Union consisting of only 2 villages. Later, under the supervision of Dr. Vergese Kurien the milk co-operative grew from strength to strength and expanded to several other villages in Gujarat. With the help of H.M. Dalaya, a unique technique of making skim milk powder from buffalo milk, in place of then popularly used Cow milk, was invented. This innovation was a milestone for AMUL and the first such invention in the world.
AMUL’s unique invention and rapid expansion across Gujarat inspired political leaders to replicate their successful model of business to other parts of India. Thus, Amul Dairy became instrumental in bringing about the White Revolution in India, also called the Operation Flood. The Amul business model also played a key role to transform India from a milk deficient country to one of the largest producers of milk in the world.
The Factory Visit:
Apart from a state of the art factory, the Amul headquarters in Anand houses a dairy museum and some Amul parlors.
The Dairy museum is the first stop for visitors where a guide runs you through the history of Amul in the backdrop of visually attractive collage walls. His explanation lasts no more than 10 minutes and the experience is very ordinary for a milk co-operative with such rich history and a victorious tale to tell.
Next, you walk towards the Amul factory where one can see machineries at work and how Amul products are processed and packed. On the way to the factory, you are captivated by the sight of huge milk silo units which quickly become the best feature of your entire visit.
Inside the factory, an assigned employee acts as your guide and takes you through some of the departments, mainly, Quality control, processing and packaging of Amul butter and the process of making skimmed milk powder. Visitors can see these huge machineries at work through large glass windows.
During our visit, the guide threw light on interesting facts like the factory runs 24 hours and employees work on rotational shifts. Also, the entire factory is machine run and these heavy duty machines can produce and pack up to hundreds and thousands of standard products in a minute.
From the visitor point of view, however, the guided factory tour lasts no more than 45 minutes; which is less time considering the sheer size of the factory, its several units, myriad range of products and its inspiring background. While it does provide some interesting facts, the overall experience is very surface level lacking to provide insightful information that ideally makes a factory visit an exclusive experience for visitors. Even the Amul parlors inside the premises sell its products at the same cost as that available in the market. This makes no sense for visitors who like to purchase stuff from locations they go visiting as a token of remembrance.
The Amul dairy factory is a decent visit, most likely targeted towards school field trips and families with kids. It has very limited to offer to travel enthusiasts, museum lovers and those with a keen interest in history. Its location further acts as a deterrent with nothing else to see in the city.
Having said that, I wasn’t very disappointed with my Amul dairy visit. I reckon, this is because I read adequate material online about this milk co-operative and my visit to the factory was merely to aid my visualization of this ultimate example of rural organization that not only brought a national change in dairy practices but also became one of the largest food brands in India.
- It is recommended to proactively ask questions to the guide, since his explanation is very basic.
- There is nothing to see in Anand, except the Amul headquarters. So, try to club this visit with an onward journey to either Ahmadabad or Vadodara depending in the direction you want to head.
Visitor Timings and other information:
Amul Dairy Museum visitor hours are between 2 and 4 pm.
Entry to Amul dairy museum is free.
Photography is allowed in the complex premises and the Dairy museum but not inside the factory.