Researchers from the University of Melbourne believe cow milk can be potentially developed into affordable creams that can help protect humans against HIV. And if their research goes according to plan, the creams, expected to be very cheap, may be available in the market within a decade! Now, that is a bit far off but people in general seem to be opting for desi cow milk more and more. And if one were to go by the words of suppliers, the supply isn’t enough to cope with the ever increasing demand.
P Sridhar, who has been running Kamadhenu Agro and Lactating Foods for the past four years, says he has seen an 11% increase in sales in the last one year. “A decade ago, no one knew the difference between desi cow and hybrid cow. The market has been increasing year after year on a regular basis,” he explains. He supplies 500 litres of milk everyday at Rs 60 per litre. He owns 80 cows at a Goshala in Uppal.
Environmentalist M Vijay Ram, who also sells desi milk through his Emerald Mithai Shop at Indira Park, points out that consumers are the real marketers. “People are not aware of the medicinal value of cow milk, but there is an increase in the number of consumers. It is a word of mouth publicity and takes time,” he says, adding “six months ago, we used to sell about 20 litres of desi milk a day, but now, we sell about 60 litres everyday at Rs 50 per litre.” Vijay Ram has his own ‘Goshala’ near Gandipet with over 250 desi cows.
If information gap is a problem, Amrut Lal Patel, a desi cow devotee and businessman, has found an answer to it. He has decided to open a customer care call centre to bridge the gap between consumers, dealers and producers of cow products. “I have prepared a complete directory of information about everything related to desi cows. The customer care number is almost finalised and may be, by this Dasara it would be officially launched,” reveals Patel. According to him, if you are interested in knowing about a desi cow, you can simply ring the number and get the info, including region-wise availability of products between 8 am and 8 pm. “I have been thinking about such an initiative for over a year, and it is a one-of-its-kind move aimed at motivating people to use desi milk and cow products and also to motivate dairy farmers to make optimum use of the cows,” explains Patel. His call centre is a non-profit initiative. Patel, who himself has five desi cows at home, does not sell milk. “80% of market milk is contaminated. A litre of milk costs me about Rs 100 including labour costs, but it is not an unnecessary expenditure since I know the benefits of desi milk,” he says. Former principal of Dr BRKR Government Ayurveda College N Satya Prasad too points out that desi cow milk has calcium, phosphorous and all sufficient nutrients. In fact, he terms it “a substitute to mother’s milk”. Stating that the desi milk is the solution to all kinds of modern day disorders found in urban life style, he says, “if one consumes desi cow milk regularly from childhood, it leads to a proper growth of hormones and increased immunity.”
According to him, there is a need to create awareness about the milk from hybrid cows which contains additional BCM-7 element, associated with a number of diseases including paediatric diabetes, autism, and metabolic degenerative diseases.
“Such awareness should start from schools. Students should be taught as part of their curriculum about the harmful effects of consuming pasteurized hybrid cow milk and also the advantages of consuming desi milk,” agrees P Sridhar of Kamadhenu.