(Abstracted from an article appeared in The Indian Express dated 29th December 2016)
Dr. A. Samad
Conserving and promoting our own livestock resources is an excellent national cause. The team led by Mr. Chandrakant Bharekar has proved that the task is not difficult and the stigma of low productivity in indigenous cows could not be solely placed on the animals. The people feeding and managing them are equally responsible.
The model adopted by the team is under the name of ‘Vrindavan Tharparkar Desi Cow Club’. The group in 2013 started a farm in Bhukum near Pune with the investment of about Rs. 1 lakh, which now has come down to Rs 51,000. The farm, which started with 9 cows, has now grown to house 150 cows.
As per the report published in Indian Express (Saving Indigenous Cattle from the Brink of Extinction, dated 29th December 2016), Tharparkar cows yield 2 to 3 Litre of milk per day, but with improved management and feeding practice at the Bhukum farm the average has gone up to 8 Litres per day, and few of them have exceeded 16 Litres at peak yield. The farm is proof that our native breeds of cows are not far behind in productivity if properly taken care of.
The marketing strategy also appears to be sound economics, working on a monthly subscription model. Each member pays Rs. 6000 per month for 2 litres of milk per day. Thus, the Club does not need to take expensive loans to run its operations, saving interest charges.
This also proves that consumers do not mind paying Rs. 100 per litre for safe, organic milk from known source, rather than buying packed milk where ultimate source of milk and practices of rearing cows is not known. The group is also earning additional revenue by marketing dung, urine and medicinal products.