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NSO report shows cattle dung is more ‘precious’ than fodder

The gross value of output (GVO) of cattle dung estimated at ₹34,825.75 crore is more than the total value of the fodder that the cattle population consumes. Not only fodder but there are also 128 other items including maize, mustard, onion, potato, eggs, soyabean, tea, coffee and cashew nut whose value is lower than dung.

According to the report, ‘Value of Output From Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing’, released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) recently, the GVO of dung increased 6.8 per cent to ₹34,825.75 crore in 2019-20 from ₹32,598.91 crore in 2011-12.

Due to a drop in value for two years between 2019-20 and 2011-12, the pace of growth is lower compared to the previous phase of seven years. The GVO of dung had increased 17 per cent to ₹18,797.75 crore in 2010-11 from ₹16,050.86 crore in 2004-05.

In comparison, the GVO of fodder increased not even half a per cent to ₹32,626.09 crore in 2019-20 from ₹32,494.46 crore in 2011-12. In many northern States, including Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, farmers faced an uphill struggle to feed their cattle after fodder prices doubled this year

“If prices of one commodity are depressed for long years, they tend to jump abnormally and that has happened with fodder this time,” said Akash Bahuguna of Kanpur, who tracks local commodities prices.

Dung ‘paints’

According to experts, the value of dung will further rise due to initiatives like the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) making paint from it. The ‘Khadi Prakritik’ paint, made of cow dung as the main ingredient, was launched by KVIC in January 2021.

The agency was paying ₹5/kg to source the dung, which is the same rate a farmer earns from selling ‘upla’ — a dried and round-sized cake made out of dung. But KVIC hopes to pay ₹10/kg when demand for the paints goes up. Under ‘Godhan Nyay Yojana’, the Chhattisgarh government procures dung at ₹2/kg. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi during ameeting at a farmer conclave on October 17 mentioned the work being done to make bio-CNG from cow dung.

Dung production estimates

The estimates of the production of dung have been prepared based on the population and evacuation rates of the bovine population. The evacuation rates and population estimates are based on the Integrated Sample Survey (ISS) of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

For States which don’t have estimates, NSO has taken the rates of adjoining States along with the annual estimated animal population to arrive at the dung production estimates.

The value of evacuation/droplets from goats and sheep has been estimated by using the results of a 2013 study by of the Central Institute for Research on Goats and the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research.

The evacuation rate for goats is 0.3 kg per day and for sheep is 0.8 kg per day. The value of droplets is estimated using the prices of dung and grouped with the estimates of dung.

Bovine population

According to the 20th Livestock Census (2019), the total Bovine population (cattle, buffalo, mithun, and yak) was 30.38 crore (with the cattle population at 19.35 crore and buffalo at 10.99 crore), and increased by 1.3 per cent over the previous census of 2012. There was 14 per cent rise in sheep population at 7.43 crore and a 10 per cent jump in goat to 14.89 crore over the previous census.

Rajasthan continues to be the top State in dung production with a GVO of ₹10,041 crore in 2019-20, but it is lower than the record of ₹10,761 crore in 2016-17. The growth in dung GVO in Rajasthan at 7.2 per cent since 2011-12 is marginally higher than the pan-India growth rate.

On the other hand, Tamil Nadu has seen a nearly 50 per cent jump at ₹1,846.76 crore from ₹1,239.98 crore in nine years. Bihar and Jharkhand, too have registered an impressive 40 per cent and 32 per cent growth, respectively, in terms of the value of dung output

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