MAY 22, 2023

Revitalizing India’s Agricultural Roots with Gaushalas: A NITI Aayog Task Force Report

India’s agricultural sector is undergoing a transformation, as the government and farmers alike are moving towards more sustainable, organic, and natural farming methods.

In recent years, the demand for organic and natural food products has increased significantly, driven by growing consumer awareness about the health and environmental benefits of organic food.

This shift has created a need for innovative solutions to promote organic and natural farming practices, and gaushalas can play a crucial role in this transformation.

The NITI Aayog Task Force has released a report on the production and promotion of organic and bio fertilizers, with a focus on increasing the economic viability of gaushalas.

Gaushalas, or cow shelters, have been an integral part of India’s traditional farming system and can serve as a hub for promoting natural and sustainable farming practices.

The report, titled “Production and Promotion of Organic and Bio Fertilisers with Special Focus on Improving Economic Viability of Gaushalas,” provides a comprehensive analysis of the costs and expenditures associated with operating and constructing a bio-CNG plant and a PROM plant within gaushalas.

Cattle were a crucial part of India’s traditional farming system, and the integration of livestock and crops is a special strength of South Asian agriculture, according to Prof. Ramesh Chand, a member of NITI Aayog.

He emphasized the negative impact of the severe imbalance in the usage of cattle dung and inorganic fertiliser over the past 50 years on the environment, human health, food quality, efficiency, and soil health. The agri-inputs made from cow dung and cow urine can minimize or replace agrochemicals, acting as plant nutrients and plant protection. The efficient utilization of cattle waste is an excellent example of the circular economy’s concept of turning waste into wealth.

Gaushalas can serve as resource centers for the supply of organic and biodegradable inputs and play a crucial role in scaling up natural and sustainable farming.

The report also mentions the current market for bio fertilizers in India, valued at around 1200 crores and projected to reach 2000 crores in the next few years. The biofertilizer industry in India has immense potential to grow, given the increasing demand for organic food and the need to reduce the dependence on chemical fertilisers.

However, the adoption of biofertilizers is faced with several challenges, including the substantial subsidies for chemical fertilisers, limited research on organic and bio fertilisers, and the lack of a level playing field for biofertilizer producers and farmers who are eager to employ non-chemical fertiliser alternatives.

The report highlights these challenges and provides practical recommendations for addressing them, including increasing investment in research and development, providing institutional support to gaushalas, and promoting the use of organic and bio fertilisers.

The report provides a detailed analysis of the operating expenses, fixed costs, and other concerns pertaining to Gaushalas, offering proposals and recommendations for increasing the financial and economic sustainability of these cow shelters.

The report also discusses the role of gaushalas in promoting sustainable farming and the waste to wealth program.

The NITI Aayog Task Force Report is a comprehensive analysis of the potential of gaushalas in promoting sustainable and organic farming practices in India.

The recommendations and proposals presented in the report can serve as a roadmap for the government, farmers, and stakeholders to work towards a more sustainable and economically viable future for gaushalas, and to revitalize India’s agricultural roots.