Ramilaben Govindbhai Patel hasn't been to college. But at 43, she earns what some CEOs take home. Nothing fancy here. She milks cows every day and supplies milk to a dairy co-operative. She milked Rs 1.10 crore - Rs 1,10,17,675 - net profit in 2011-12, to be precise!
At Pentarpura village in Sabarkantha district, Ramilaben's dairy farm churns out 5.55 lakh litres of milk per annum. What had started as a backyard business in 2000 is now a full-fledged family business. She is an outstanding success story of the change the White Revolution has brought about in Amul capital.
Twelve years ago, Ramilaben registered herself as a primary milk producer at Pentarpura's dudh mandali (village level milk society) and took a bank loan for five cross-bred cows. Today, she runs 'Jai Ranchod Dudh Utpadan Kendra', which is a five-acre home to 280 cattle where 40 workers get employment, even though the farm has four automatic milking machines.
She and her husband Govindbhai visited Israel last year to finalise plans to set up a calf-rearing farm alongside a fully computerized 'tabela'.
"Our farm has 24-hour water, cooling system, fodder chaffing machines and other things but we now want to adopt Israeli technology where rotary units will milk cows automatically and also indicate the fat content," says Ramilaben. The modernization will cost Rs 1 crore.
Ramilaben is an inspiration to other women in Gujarat who are the backbone of the dairy industry. Out of the total 16,117 milk societies, 2,124 are run by women. Of the 31.8 lakh members in 15 district unions, 8.2 lakh are women.
"A quarter of our total members are women but their contribution to the productivity of the dairy sector is much more," says R S Sodhi, managing director of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that markets the brand Amul.