A growing number of organic farmers across India are benefiting from government handouts targeting India’s growing bovine Industry. Businesses using products derived from cows, although not their meat or hides – cows are sacred for Hindus.
Soaps, shampoos and other personal care products made from cow dung and urine. Even more they are now being hawked by the top digital retailers in India – Amazon, Flipkart and eBay.
Umesh Soni, 36, a Mumbai-based microbiologist, is the founder of Cowpathy. He began crafting his organic range of cow dung soaps as far back as 2012. This brand also uses only excrement from indigenous cattle.
The cow dung is collected by hand and heat-processed in his factory to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Cowpathy manufactures a talcum powder substitute composed of the dung and ash of burnt cow pats; toothpaste made of the animal’s dung, urine distillate and stevia (a plant-based sweetener used as a binder); an under-eye gel made from distilled urine; and also shaving and shower creams.
Facial products made from cow dung and urine
His most popular item is soap made from the panchagauvya. A combination of the five main products derived from cows that are highly valued: milk, yogurt, ghee, dung and urine.
“In the early years, I ended up gifting 50 per cent of my stock,” he says. Then sales picked up. He now supplies 400 wholesalers across India and exports to 14 countries.
Soni’s annual turnover of cow-based products is $350,646 and he recently added a line of non-caffeinated beverages. Liquid teas are made from herbs and distilled cow urine.
A concoction of herbs roasted over dried cow dung tastes exactly like coffee, he tells Asia One.
The cow has always been considered a sacred animal to Hindus. In February 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set up Kamadhenu Aayog. An official advisory organization tasked with preparing policies and guidelines for the protection of the Indian cow.
“The Aayog will promote organic farming using cow urine and dung as bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers,” says Dr Vallabhbhai Kathiria, the chairman of Kamadhenu Aayog.
Commercializing cow dung and other cow products will also help protect cows well past their prime milking years.
Cow dung face washes and soaps
Rajas Paranjpe, 30 and his wife Gautami, 26, both media marketing professionals, started their own bovine venture called Bodhishop in August 2018.
They also sell a range of cow dung- and urine-based bio-fertilizers, sunscreens, face washes and soaps.
They also source milk from eight of the 43 varieties of indigenous Indian cows. Above all buying it from organic farmers all over the country.
The milk from each breed is processed separately, Paranjpe says, and milk products; – especially ghee, a kind of clarified butter used widely in India’s ayurvedic health and medicine industry. – are even more their bestsellers.
From 20 orders a month, they now fill more than 200, with revenue now having grown to 10 times the size of their first month’s sales.