From Cow to Donkey’s Milk, an innovation within India’s Dairy Industry

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Picture Courtesy: The Better India

Every morning, we wake up to a glass of milk as a perfect beverage to begin your day. While Cow’s milk is often consumed across the country, an alternative has made his way into India’s dairy industry. Ever heard about a Donkey’s milk?

Pooja Kaul, a budding entrepreneur from Solapur, gave up her government job to offer this alternative in
the dairy industry. Pooja and her batchmate Rishabh Tomar graduated from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The two set up the brand, Organiko in October 2008. Organiko aims to enrich and empower the rural labourers as well as help raising awareness of donkey milk and products in India.

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Image Courtesy: The Better India

The duo has extended their support to donkey farmers in areas including Solapur, Ghaziabad and Dasna. The farmers from these communities have been educated and taught to reap the benefits of the animal.

Currently, 50 Donkeys have been sheltered through this initiative. They are provided with adequate food and water on a daily basis. Organiko has not only helped rural families earn their bread and butter but also improved the health and living conditions of the animals in these communities. Based on the current trends
in the Indian dairy standards, Pooja and Rishabh price one litre of donkey milk ranging from Rs. 2,000 up to Rs. 3,000.

In addition to the donkey farmers, Pooja and Rishabh have opened the floor to unique job prospects for the women from these communities. They have successfully mentored women to manufacture skincare products made from a donkey’s milk.

A Cow’s milk VS A Donkey’s milk?
Milk plays an essential role in everyone’s health. A cow’s milk is comprised of nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and vitamin K2. These make the sole ingredients for healthy bones. Additionally, it helps with maintaining one’s body mass. Although the latest research report done by the United Nation’s food and agriculture department states that a Donkey’s milk has proven to be just as salubrious as that of a mother’s breast milk. The donkey’s milk is an amalgamation of vitamin D, fatty acids and minerals all packed in just one cup. It also makes for a portion of good superfood for newborn babies who might have an allergy to a cow’s milk. Moreover, the fat percentage is lower when compared to the percentage found in a cow’s milk.

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Image Courtesy: The Better India

“Using donkey milk is still a fairly new concept in India. There are several hurdles we face on a daily basis, one of them being the financial crunch. But the good thing is that now the donkey owners are willing to work with us without much convincing. I was interested in writing a thesis about the dairy industry, and during my research, I came across the history of donkey’s milk. According to the 19th Livestock census of India, there are 0.32 million donkeys in India as of 2012, a decrease of 27 per cent compared to the previous census in 2007. That figure disturbed me and at the same
time, made me curious. For many donkey owners, they are a liability as they are not aware of the benefits. Most of the owners are seasonal workers, and often they migrate, leaving the donkeys behind without food and shelter. This has reduced their life expectancy to merely 6-7 years from 20 years”, Pooja told The Better India.

The two began their journey by collaborating with 15 donkey farmers. Their initial revenue spiked from soaps made of Donkey’s milk. The organization introduced two types of soaps products; The Donkey Milk Charcoal and Honey”. They have managed
to sell 200 soap products within a couple of months.

“We started the organization with Rs 28,000. Earlier I used to make soaps as part of my hobby, but for the organisation, both of us underwent a training programme from a cosmetic institute in Mumbai”, Rishabh tells The Better India.

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Image Courtesy: The Better India

Educating Donkey Owners
The two moved around to different parts of the country and started a conversation with various donkey owners. They faced a lot of challenges during the setting up process, as it was extremely difficult to sell the idea to the donkey owners. The donkey farmers took time to warm up the commercial and monetary value of the

The organization is now recognized across the country and has been facilitated with many accolades for their contribution to the industry.

Fun fact: The secret behind Cleopatra, (the Egyptian Queen) and Poppea Sabina’s,

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