Chhattisgarh fuels rural economy using cow dung; also makes vermicompost more accessible

In less than 10 days since its launch on July 20, the Chhattisgarh government’s Godhan Nyay Yojana has already paid Rs 1.65 crore to those who collected cow dung.

Suryakant Dewangan
| Updated: September 4th, 2020

The Godhan Nyay Yojana has assured farmers and livestock rearers an additional income of Rs 1,500-2,000 a month. Photo: World Bank/flickr

Farmer Rati Ram Kumeti of Mungwal village in Bhanupratappur development block in Kanker district does not own any cattle. But, she’s making money by selling their dung. She’s a beneficiary of the Chhattisgarh Government’s Godhan Nyay Yojana, under which cow dung is procured from livestock rearers and converted into organic fertilizer. “After completing my farming chores, I walk around the village collecting cow dung. This way, I am able to sell about 70-80 kilogrammes (kg) a day to the committee that comes to collect it,” she said.

As per the scheme, launched on July 20 this year, the state government will buy cow dung from registered livestock rearers at Rs 2 a kg and after processing it into vermicompost, sell it to farmers at Rs 8 a kg. The aim is to provide a boost to the rural economy, create employment opportunities and promote organic farming.

This scheme has the potential to become a game changer in the fields of agriculture and cattle rearing. Photo: Gaon Connection

A New Income Source

Launched on the auspicious day of Hareli Parva, a folk festival celebrated by farmers in Central India, where they worship the tools and animals that help in farming, this scheme brings new hope for agriculturalists and livestock rearers. Implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Gram Panchayats, the scheme involves collection of cow dung by the Gauthan (cow-shelter) Committee and self-help groups in each village. To be eligible to sell the dung, beneficiaries are required to register themselves at the Gauthan after which they are given a purchase sheet. The quantity of dung sold to the centre is recorded in this sheet, and payment made directly to the beneficiary’s bank account.

The self-help groups have been trained by the  Department of Agriculture, and have a crucial role to play in the successful execution of this ambitious scheme. These all-women groups are responsible for preparing the vermicompost. Large tanks with a capacity of 1,000 kg are being constructed in all the existing and upcoming Gauthans. Using 1,000 kg of cow dung, 700 kg of vermicompost can be generated in approximately 45 days. After a quality check by authorities, the compost is packed in two, five and 30-kg packs and sold at the predetermined rate. With this, farmers of the state, who currently purchase chemical fertilizers that are priced prohibitively are expected to make the shift to organic fertilizers.

As per the scheme, the state government will buy cow dung from registered livestock rearers at Rs 2 a kg. Photo: Gaon Connection

Encouraging response

The initial response to the scheme has been promising; farmers and livestock rearers are especially happy as cow dung has now become a source of additional income. From the date of launch till August 1, 2020, a total of 8,271,100 kg (82,711 quintals) of dung was sold by 46,964 livestock rearers to 4,140 Gauthans in the state. At the rate of Rs 2 a kg, the government has handed out Rs 1.65 crore. In Kanker district alone, 2,221 registered sellers collectively sold more than 25,000 kg (2,500 quintals) of dung in the first 15 days of the implementation of the scheme. “Earlier, we did not look at cow dung as an income source and did not give it any importance, but now we make sure that we collect it and sell it to the Gauthan Committee,” said Shamita Uikey, a resident of Haatkondal village in Durgukondal block.

Mahesh Mandavi, president of the Gauthan Committee in Goyanda village, Durgukondal block, said that earlier, livestock owners could earn money only by selling milk, but now, through the Godhan Nyay Yojana, “they are able to earn some additional income by selling cow dung”.

Making organic manure accessible

What the Godhan Nyay Yojana has done is not just assured farmers and livestock rearers an assured additional income of Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 a month, but also made it easier for them to purchase and use organic manure. Earlier, it would take them three months to compost manure using cow dung. The lack of training and knowledge resulted in low-quality manure. Through this scheme, they are able to save time and get access to good quality organic manure, thus maintaining the fertility and health of the soil. In urban areas, the procured cow dung will also be utilised to make value-added products such as incense sticks, pots, lamps and idols.

This scheme has the potential to become a game changer in the fields of agriculture and cattle rearing. Other than improving the rural economy, it can have a long-term impact on animal husbandry, organic farming and the environment if implemented properly, and if the entire farming community of the state is taken into confidence.

This article has been sourced from Charkha Features.