Dairy farmers are not worrying overmuch about the unsold milk their cows produce during the lockdown, used as they are to some produce going waste. It is the fear of their cattle going hungry due to the non-availability of fodder that haunts them. Each cow needs 25 kg of fodder--15 kg green grass, 10 kg dry grass and 200 gms of jaggery. If cows go without the right mix of fodder for a long period their capacity to produce milk could be reduced. Ensuring a regular flow of fodder to dairies is crucial. During this lockdown, it’s a challenge too, as small farmers with less than six cows are finding out.
Enter Rajas Paranjpe and his Mumbai-based dairy start-up Bodhishop. “Anyone can help needy farmers by buying fodder online from our website and we will deliver it straight to the needy farmers/gaushalas,” explains Paranjpe. Customers have to select the fodder that they wish to donate, add it to their ‘cart’ on Bodhishop’s website, check the quantity and checkout. They can donate multiple products by selecting the fodder type from a menu and adding it to the cart. “Customers are donating from 100 kgs to 1,000 kgs through Bodhishop,” adds Paranjpe.
Says Gautami Paranjpe, co-founder, Bodhishop: “To maintain transparency, we decided to purchase the products ourselves from the donations and deliver them to needy and verified farms. We share updates with every donor about the deliveries made to farmers/gaushalas via SMS and email. We personally monitor the purchase of fodder to final delivery.”
The initiative, launched in early April, has been able to raise ten tonnes of fodder and supplies are increasing as more people become aware. “We were surprised to see that customers were also calling to enquire about the situation at the farm level. So we spoke to some farmers/gaushalas, took stock of the heads of cattle, exactly how much fodder they require and made sure supplies reached them. Once the lockdown is lifted the cows will remain healthy so the farmers can resume their supplies to dairies,” Paranjpe says.