Farmers forced to make soap
Goats have come to the rescue of farmers in Maharashtra’s drought-hit district of Osmanabad, providing livelihood to 250 families in the region who have started making soap using their milk.
Farming families in 25 villages in the district have joined the project with the help of a local non-government organisation.
The project is aimed at helping families of farmers who have committed suicide or have fallen on hard times, Shivar Sanstha CEO Vinayak Hegana said.
“Rather than providing financial help to suffering families, we decided to teach them a way of earning their livelihood. We taught them how they could profit by taking care of Osmanabadi goats rather than selling them in the market,” Hegana said.
Hegana, an agriculture graduate, has conducted an extensive research about the benefits of goat milk. “Rich in vitamins A and E, selenium and alpha hydroxy acids, goat’s milk can cure skin ailments,” Hegana said, adding the organisation had registered a patent in July and immediately started production of these soaps.
As the organisation does not have an industrial plant, a workshop is set up at one of the farmers’ home, where the whole operation takes place, he said.
“We pay the farmers Rs 300 for a litre of Osmanabadi goat’s milk, and they earn Rs 150 for each day’s work.”
At least 250 families are involved in this trade using 1,400 goats, he said, adding the organisation plans to engage 10,000 more families for the project and are looking to tap into national and international markets as well.
“Our department has distributed goats to farmers in these villages, and are planning to use milk from these goats for the soap project,” deputy divisional agriculture officer Bhaskar Kolekar said.