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.
Bruce A. Scholten is Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Geography, Durham University. He has written on agricultural policy for a variety of international publications and his current research focus is the political economy of food. He grew up on a dairy farm near Lynden, Washington, USA.