Since time immemorial, cow's milk has earned farmers a steady source of income, but in Rajastan, cow urine has become the new rage and is raking in the moolah for dairy farmers. Demand is at an all-time high and urine of Gir and Tharparkar, considered to be among the best cow breeds, sells for Rs 15-30 for a litre in the wholesale market as compared to Rs 22-25 for a litre of milk.
The urine is mainly bought by people who are into organic farming and use it as an alternative to pesticides. The urine is also used in medicines and for religious rituals.
A dairy farmer from Jaipur, Kailesh Gujjar, says since he started selling cow urine his earnings have jumped by around 30 per cent although it entails lot of hard work and sleep deprivation, says Gujjar.
"I have to stay awake the whole night and wait for the cows to urinate and ensure it doesn't flow away. But I don't mind as cow is our mother," says Gujjar, who has been selling milk for 20 years.
Milk trader Om Prakash Meena says he buys cow urine from a Gir 'gaushala' in Jaipur.
"One litre of urine sells between Rs 30 and Rs 50 and the main buyers are organic farmers who spray it on crops to prevent attacks by pests and insects," he says.
He adds that cow urine is also used in rituals like 'yagna' and 'panchgavyam' during 'janaau' ceremony.
Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur, uses around 300-500 litres of cow urine on its organic farms. It pays Rs 15,000-20,000 every month to dairy farmers from around the state who supply the varsity with cow urine.
"Cow urine has the potential to provide farmers a substantial parallel income," says university Vice-Chancellor Uma Shankar.
According to government figures, Rajasthan is home to 8,59,000 cows in 2,562 shelters.