Creating Wealth from Waste
is an ever-increasing number of cattle especially cows, roaming around the streets
in India, posing a serious threat to traffic and safety of people as well
as the cattle. It is a country-wide problem, spreading from rural areas
to metropolitan cities. ‘Gaushala’ is a place where ‘uneconomic’
stray cows can be housed and allowed to live a healthy life.
Gaushalas have a huge potential to rejuvenate the entire value chain
of livestock-based economy in an integrated manner. Gaushalas
help in the productive use of cow dung by generating biogas for electricity
and organic manure. This provides first-hand knowledge to
communities for value addition of locally available resources, as well as
for enhancing the economy of villages.
2004, Development Alternatives took the initiative of starting a
Gaushala to address the issue of loose cattle and create wealth from
waste. For this purpose, about 50 women from different self-help groups
representing 10 to 12 villages were identified to collectively form a
women’s federation named ‘Sankalp Swashakti Mahila Mandal’ (SSMM),
and run a livestock-based livelihood centre to initiate activities that
would generate supplementary revenue for the members. The women's group
has been efficiently managing Sri Ram Raja Gaushala for more than
a decade now. The Gaushala is seen as a rural economic zone which
runs a biogas-based energy unit and also produces milk, spices and vermi-compost.
The SSMM members were imparted training to
demonstrate technologically modern, environment friendly and sustainable
methods of livestock rearing and fodder cultivation. About 8 hectares of
government wasteland were allotted to the federation for demonstrating
fodder management activities in order to provide fodder related services
to the local communities. The Gaushala is also providing a unique
opportunity for green power generation to run enterprises through biogas. Proper management of cow dung has additional benefits of saving
greenhouse gas emissions, as dung, if just left in pits, creates anaerobic
conditions leading to methane emissions. Methane, as a greenhouse, gas has
a global warming potential that is 21 times that of carbon dioxide.
The main objectives of the Gaushala
initiative are as follows:
Establish livestock-based livelihoods using
renewable energy-based technology.
Make efficient use of livestock-based
products for revenue generation like cow dung through biogas for
electricity generation and slurry for vermi-compost production.
Establish and manage production enterprises
supporting the development of livestock input supply services and
These objectives are met by making
interventions that include:
Capacity Building: A cadre of women
members have been trained, and have emerged as change agents. They are
accountable for running this model using waste to wealth creation and
ensuring an economically sustainable centre for livestock management.
Technology: Technical support is
provided to the women by identifying situations and resources
available to improve their efficiency and business associations, as well
as to promote organic farming and livestock-based enterprises.
Information and advice is given on strategies and access to better
technology and innovation coupled with appropriate packages that could
be taken up by women farmers.
Institutions: This initiative has is
helped in building the capacities of participant trainees, Farmer
Producer Organisations, Self Help Groups and women through training and
handholding in the field. These institutional associates are being
trained and supported to adopt improved business models and dairy based
farming practices that are efficient, boost productivity and yield
environment co-benefits in the short and the long run.
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