The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) has instituted the setting up of a Dr. Verghese Kurien Centre for Excellence (VKCoE) at IRMA for research in dairy management, cooperatives and producer organizations in agriculture and related fields. The Centre would work on emerging models of collectives and contemporary challenges of the dairy industry through research, consultancy, extension, outreach and policy analysis.
Areas of work would be on the production and consumption in the organized and unorganized sectors of the dairy industry; issues of corporate governance following cooperative amendments; a market watch (including possible scenario modeling) on the dynamics in the sector; socio-economic impact of dairy farmers; manpower and generational issues in the sector; entrepreneurial opportunities and constraints in the sector; and collective action and commons frameworks for managing collective enterprises. The Dr. Verghese Kurien Centre (VKCOE) would be coordinated by a Chair Professor and draw upon existing expertise in IRMA in different areas in a collaborative manner with support from full time research associates.
VKCOE would also seek to shape the discourse on contemporary developments in agriculture and allied subjects with a view to extend Dr Verghese Kurien's ideas in today's world. These include shaping ongoing thinking on Farmer Producer Organisations, understanding rural capital goods industry and agricultural mechanization drawing from experiences of the Amul model. VKCOE seeks to, in collaboration with other Centres at IRMA, be the institutional champion of agriculture. VKCOE is coordinated by Prof. C. Shambu Prasad as the Chair Professor and the ongoing activities include:
- Study of Value Chain in Dairy Sector Organizations and its impact on Organizational Effectiveness and Sustainability
- Leadership in Cooperatives: Behavioural Competencies Model
- The role of co-operatives in bringing the best technologies in milk procurement and processing
- Production & consumption of milk in the organized & unorganized sectors of dairy industry
- Changing Face of World Dairy Industry and its Impact on Commodity Market, Producing Countries and Consuming Countries
VKCOE has successfully completed a study on "Rural and Agricultural Mechanization in Odisha: Policy implications of the spread of small engines and other small equipment" supported by the International Maize and Wheat Centre (CIMMYT) South Asia office.
Prof Stephen Biggs, of SOAS, UK, visited IRMA and delivered a lecture on "A history of rural development debates: Recent disruptions and themes in an emerging policy agenda for rural industrialization" on 26th November, Dr Verghese Kurien's birth anniversary linking the rural capital goods industry and Amul.
VKCOE has published an occasional paper on "The Logic of Farmer Enterprise" by Dr Ajit Kanitkar and organised a round table following the International Agribusiness Conference at IRMA on Jan 8th, 2016 to develop a research agenda on producer collectives.