It All Started With One Cow!
Cows have been known for helping the mankind in every possible way and this true story is a testimony to this very fact.
The story speaks of Parvati Patel from the Valsad District,Gujarat who started with just one cow and has built a profitable business from it. The story was from a time when the society was still gripping to accept a possible woman as a bread winner. This is why this story is not just about the cows, the white revolution but is also a tribute to the women.
Parvati Patel was married into a family in the Soldhara village and in just 6 years into the marriage, she came upon the fact that their family business is collapsing. Her husband and her father- in-law who were earning for their joint family, were struggling to make both ends meet. Looking at their struggle for the finances, Parvati decided to take matters into her own hands. And now she is an icon to the women and the farmers in her village now.
“I started by milking the only cow we had and pouring the milk into the milk society at Soldhara, our village”, recollects Parvati. And this was nearly 24 years earlier from now. Now she is the head of the milk society in Soldhara, which is run completely and only by women. She has been heading this milk society for nearly 20 years now along with being the Director for the Union of Milk Producers in the district of Valsad for more than 15 years.
You would be surprised pleasantly to know that most of the members in the Valsad Union of Milk producers are women.
“I started with merely one cow nearly 20 years back. And my inspiration came from the news that another woman in the nearby district of Anand, has managed to earn nearly 10Lakh rupees with 40 cows. And that is where I started to think on expanding my dairy farm”, explains Parvati. She expanded from a single cow to nearly 15 heifers and 30 cows.
She proudly states that her expansion into dairy production has helped her in many ways than one. She says, “My eldest son has a degree in the dairy technology, he studied at MIT and is now in US. The younger son has managed to finish his education and is now working as a professor at the engineering college in the district of Valsad.”
It has been a proud achievement for not only Parvati but for many women who have managed to better their lives by investing their time and effort into dairy production. In fact according to the GCMMF (Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation) the Amul, biggest of the dairy brands in India, has more than a million women contributing to it officially every day. The dairy sector of Gujarat alone is estimated to be worth Rs.35000 crores. There are nearly 3000 milk societies in the state which is completely run by women alone and the number is on the rise every day.
In the words of the director of GCMMF, “While there are 1 million members (women) registered with us, there are still more who contribute every day to the dairy. Also most of these women are not just dairy milk pourers but they are much more as they contribute the sector’s growth.”
With India being the largest producer of milk in the world, and the Gujarat being the cradle of this revolution, there are more and more success stories lining up. Cows have definitely made our living better and they continue to do so. Let us protect them and help them to help ourselves!
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