Corporate File

Down-to-earth dairy diplomat

Rutam Vora | Updated on June 06, 2021

Why Amul boss R S Sodhi’s seat at the IDF board is a booster shot for the Indian dairy sector

From a humble sales officer at Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF) to a board seat at a global dairy forum, Rupinder Singh Sodhi’s journey has parallelly traversed the rise of Amul — India’s homegrown giant that is among the world's top ten dairy brands.

On World Milk Day on June 1, 2021 at the General Assembly of IDF — an international non-governmental, non-profit association of global dairy stakeholders, the Amul boss was unanimously elected to the Board.

Sodhi’s appointment is significant for India — the world’s largest milk producer — as it ensures a voice in policy advocacy, planning and execution at a global level. This comes at a crucial juncture when the global dairy sector is making efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating hunger by 2030.

“India’s cooperative approach constitutes an essential strategy by which millions of dairy farmers are being empowered to have a level-playing field in the market and get a fair share of the value of milk,” Sodhi said after his appointment.

The down-to-earth dairyman hailing from village Ratta Khera in Punjab, who loves his morning walks and is a foodie, graduated in Agriculture Engineering from CTAE, Udaipur and was part of the first batch of Institute of Rural Management — Anand (IRMA). Soon after his post graduation in Rural Management, Sodhi joined Amul in 1982 as a sales officer, under the chairmanship of Verghese Kurien.

Brimming with energy and ideas for new products and marketing campaigns, Sodhi’s actions of ensuring sustainable livelihood for millions of dairy farmers makes him a suitable protégé of late Kurien — the Milkman of India — who revolutionised India’s dairy sector.

Under Sodhi’s leadership, GCMMF’s sales turnover increased by almost five times, from ₹8,005 crore in 2009-10 to ₹39,238 crore during 2020-21. Its product portfolio has also grown exponentially.

For over 3.6 million farmers of Amul, Sodhi has also ensured better price realisation from liquid milk procurement. Amul increased milk procurement prices by 140 per cent in the last 10 years, from Rs 337 per kg-fat in 2009-10 to Rs 810 per kg-fat in 2020-21. This, in turn, encouraged the farmers to produce more milk.

For Sodhi who believes dairying is the growth engine of the farm sector, the effort all along is to make milk India's biggest cash cow.

Rutam Vora

Published on June 06, 2021

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