As millions return to food poverty, and protests against economic meltdown sweep the globe, crucial lessons can be learnt by considering how farmer-controlled cooperatives improved food security in India. India's 'Operation Flood' between 1970 and 1996, was the largest ever dairy aid effort by the World Food Programme and the World Bank. However, most books on Operation Flood contain outdated claims that it mimicked the mistakes of the Green Revolution, by transferring inappropriate technology to India and displacing village women's work. Critics feared it was a 'Trojan horse' luring India to neocolonial dependence on EEC surpluses. Verghese Kurien, now called the Father of the White Revolution, was accused of arrogant leadership of the parastatal National Dairy Development Board based in Anand, Gujarat, far from Delhi. Some doubted the 'Anand pattern' was replicable outside Gujarat – however in 2008 the World Bank hailed its success and planned to replicate the low-input/low-output, environmentally-sustainable Anand Pattern in Africa.
India's White Revolution explains how the disincentives of food aid were managed by pricing policy changes, benefiting women, children and marginal farmers, and quenching urban 'milk famines'. FAO data show that India surpassed the USA as the world's top milk producer in the 1990s, as milk production tripled compared to that of 1970, and per capita consumption nearly doubled as population boomed. Cooperatives returned profits from procurement, processing and marketing to farming families, and invested monetised aid in the national milk grid infrastructure to stabilise supply. Development specialists will value this book for its analysis of relatively unknown data. Students will appreciate discussion of development in the context of mercantilism, colonialism, the Cold War, Fordism, and neoliberal globalisation in the WTO era. Its politicaleconomic lessons are relevant to debates on biofuel, intellectual property, poverty and private investment in poor countries. Bruce A. Scholten provides a dramatic narrative of an era when India's farmers seized the double-edged sword of food aid.