The 1800s were an exciting time for dairy & agriculture. Northern Europe was coming alive to farming, both as a 'paying business' and as a scientifically teachable discipline that enabled the industrial organisation of farm processes and the marketing of its produce.
It spurred the ambitions of an educated urbanite in Sweden called Edward Keventer. He enrolled at the Dairy Institute at Alnarp in 1885, graduated in 1886, and immediately went off to nearby Örbyhus to run a dairy. By 1888, he was considered a respected expert in the field and ready for a dairying career.
In 1890, he was recruited by the British Government, to modernise the dairy industry in India. Over the next 50 years, he went to unleash an entire revolution, the effects of which continue to reverberate today.
Exploring uncharted territories, unfamiliar breeds of livestock, alien practices and extremes of climate, he overcame all obstacles. Single-mindedly, he researched, experimented, invented and innovated - laying the groundwork for scientific cattle breeding, nutrition and husbandry. He devised a technique for butter making without benefit of refrigeration and later introduced India to pasteurised dairy milk.
Impatient with the bureaucracy of the time, his innovations took on an entrepreneurial zeal. In an age that had no tankers to carry refrigerated milk cross-country, Edward Keventer shipped live milch cattle at carefully measured intervals, by truck, rail and water. All his operations were marked by a fanatical concern for health and hygiene, as much for his animals as for his farm workers - rare among colonial entrepreneurs of his time.
Keventer willingly shared his hard-won knowledge with others, training Government officials as well as would-be entrepreneurs. His insights helped the British in their early researches in cattle-breeding and dairy farming. He was honoured with a succession of Viceregal Charters as well as a Royal Charter from the King Emperor George V. His counsel was sought even when it was not taken. And in poetic justice, those of his ideas the British ignored or actively opposed - such as the dairy potential of the Indian buffalo - bore fruit when independent India embarked on its white revolution, inspired and led by Dr. Verghese Kurien.
At its peak, his network rivalled a modern-day multinational with operations at Karachi, Lahore, Aligarh, Calcutta, Darjeeling, Delhi and Rangoon.
125 years later, the Keventer name still strikes a chord with generations of consumers, expatriates and tourists, in all corners of India and around the world.
At Keventer, our every action continues to be guided by his philosophy & beliefs.