Cattle Mettle is a social venture aimed at increasing cattle productivity by providing highly nutritious cattle feed made from invasive plant species that have been rendered as waste. It is based out of India which is the world’s largest producer of milk. Over 100 million small dairy farmer households derive their livelihood through milk production in India but the milk productivity still stands quite low, making small dairy farming unprofitable. Moreover, the condition becomes worse in arid regions like Rajasthan which faces a huge feed and fodder deficit round the year.
Cattle Mettle aims to increase cattle productivity, increase rural income and improve land management with a single solution. Their first product is based of highly nutritious pods from Mesquite tree, which grows plentifully in wild in arid and semi-arid regions across the World.
Its business model includes higher rural inclusion where they are creating a network of small and landless farmers and rural women in raw material collection and processing. The processed feed is then sold at a lower cost to farmers, providing safe and nutritious food to help increase their milk production. They not only stop at providing cattle feed, but also go an extra mile to provide information, training and demonstrations in livestock management to local dairy farmers. Their initial trials with individual milkmen have reported an increase in milk production, better cattle health and higher combustion value of cow-dung.
Plan and Funding:
This year, they have begun a commercial pilot and have already secured pre-orders to supply cattle feed to individual farmers, small dairies and cow shelters.
The grant funding of USD 5000 from GFAR would help Cattle Mettle to establish a strong raw material supply chain by forming rural collection centers which would enable collection groups and micro-entrepreneurs to store and process raw materials. The funds would be used as follows:
- USD 500 – for field visits, site selection, contracts and approvals (3 Months)
- USD 2500 – to purchase and set up 2 vertical ball mills (During first 3 Months)
- USD 250 – for SHG formations and trainings on raw material collection (throughout the project)
- USD 1750 – for combined yearly operation cost of mills (9 Months)
They will support 5 youth micro-entrepreneurs and create 50 additional livelihood opportunities from rural areas to co-develop raw material supply chains and promote inclusive, transparent and sustainable economic growth at grassroots. With strong supply chain of raw materials, they aim to reach 5 tons/day production levels by end of this year serving 1000 dairy households and feeding 2000 cattle heads daily.
At scale, Cattle Mettle would have three major socio-economic impacts by increasing milk production, increasing livelihood opportunities and rural income and improving land management by keeping Mesquite invasion in check.
They are set on an ambitious journey to bring down the cost of feeding cattle by 50% in next 2 years.
Cattle Mettle’s larger vision is to trigger and lead a global movement to adopt sustainable feeding practices for livestock rearing at grassroots and to enable small farmer households earn better.
Cattle Mettle is one of the Asia finalists for the Common Wealth Youth Awards 2016. It has recently been conferred the International Youth Award 2015 for Innovations in Agribusinesses by United Nations Industrial Development Organization at Expo Milan. Prior to this, Cattle Mettle has been the Asia-Africa winner at Global Social Venture Competition at University of Berkeley, California and a winner at Indian School of Business’ iDiya Social Venture Competition.
Nikhil Bohra is the founder of Cattle Mettle. He is an engineer in Biotechnology with a postgraduate in Innovation and Leadership. Prior to starting Cattle Mettle, he was an Innovation Fellow at Bihar Innovation Lab, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and researched on nutrition, health and entrepreneurship.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Nikhil Bohra (India) – nikbohra88[at]gmail.com
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