Govt body pitches cow-dung gas, bull semen biz
If you are worried about rocketing fuel prices, climate change or import bills, India’s national cow commission has a business idea: use cow-dung compressed natural gas (CNG) to get “cheaper and made in India energy”.
There aren’t any such pumps around yet, but the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog or RKA (national cow commission) has plenty of cash-cow ideas.
Other than cow-dung CNG pumps for vehicles, it has proposed bull semen banks and cow tourism in a list of creative ideas for what it calls “cow entrepreneurship”.
“The cow entrepreneurship concept got discussed in many of RKA’s webinars. Many entrepreneurs across the globe have started exploring these evergreen possibilities utilizing new-age technology with age-old wisdom,” the RKA says on its website.
“Biogas has been used for a long time as fuel. They are filled in cylinders and could be used for cooking. The energy from cow dung could also be used in transportation. By generating it at a bigger scale, one can set up CNG pumps. Transportation industry will get cheaper and easily available made-in-India energy,” the cow commission website says.
Cow dung can generate huge revenues and offers an attractive business opportunity, it adds.
Petrol prices have touched ₹89.29 a litre and diesel costs ₹79.70 a litre in Delhi. In other parts of India, such as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, petrol has crossed the ₹100 mark for the first time.
Since February 2020, petrol has become costlier by over ₹17.50 a litre, and diesel by nearly ₹16 a litre, prompting criticism from public and political opposition over the Centre’s fuel tax at a time the country faces growing job and income loss due to the pandemic.
The cow commission suggestions are part of a set of documents it has uploaded on its website that may be used by those sitting for the much-debated national ‘cow science exam’ being organized by the commission.
The body operates under the animal husbandry department of the Union government.
Another entrepreneurial idea it has proffered is a “semen banks” for bulls.
“Healthy, high-quality pedigree bulls are always in demand. The male calves of cows, which have been giving a large quantity of milk from generations, are the preferred choice. Cow rearers and entrepreneurs prefer such bulls and pay a good amount to procure them. Semen banks of such bulls, too, are an attractive business opportunity,” the website post reads.
In the section on cow tourism, it talks about the idea of “cow hugging” for health benefits in some foreign countries without naming them. In India, it says, the concept of ‘cow tourism’ is gaining momentum.
“A place where economic, health, environmental benefits of cows is to be showcased. In Rajasthan, there are guest houses with walls, floors made up of cow dung. Only organic foods are served. Such spots are attracting foreigners, who, after spending some days, return rejuvenated. The sky is the limit for creative business ideas in this segment.”
India’s cattle population has been increasing over the past few years: according to the latest livestock census, the country was home to 192.5 million cattle in 2019, almost 1.6 million more than in 2012. Cattle make up 36% of the total livestock population in the country.
The cow commission also talks about using cow-dung for making paper, ‘panchagabya’-based medicines and in farming.
A business school professor who declined to be named said the entrepreneurship ideas in any sector need to be backed by solutions of a problem point, facts, and market research rather than popular notions.
Without these, they may not translate into action and may fail the test of the market, the professor added.