Making Urban dairies more sustainable

Dependence of mankind on the non-renewable sources of energy such as coal, oil and gases is increasing worldwide. It is time to switch over to readily available, economical, and environment-friendly renewable source of energy like cattle dung, which is plentily available.

Jammu, the city of temples in India, is flooded with many small urban dairies. While these farms are very important for the local communities in procuring fresh milk, these dairies are also becoming a cause of concern. The cattle dung is being flushed into the colony’s drainage system, overloading the already overloaded drainages in the area. This becomes inevitable owing to the lack of space for storing dung, even temporarily. There is a need to procure this wasted cattle dung and urine from urban dairies on payment basis and recycle them into various products.

Cattle dung can be recycled in many ways. It can be processed for bio-gas and then converted to compressed biogas (CBG) / compressed natural gas (CNG), which dairy/milk processing units may use for running their boiler plants, restaurants, running generators for electricity, lightening of streets and by other such industries on-demand basis. The remaining cattle dung and the huge quantity of slurry obtained from biogas plant can be used for making vermicompost, crematorium logs, eco–friendly lamps, paints, idols/murtis, flower pots, bio-fertilizer, cow dung cake etc. on a large scale basis which can be a commercially viable and sustainable business proposition. Moreover, collected urine can be distilled for making bio-pesticides, repellants, medicines etc.

Recycling cow dung has several benefits – enhances dairy farmers income; employment generation through green jobs; promotion of sustainable agriculture and livestock development, clean and green cities. According to an ILO study, the productive use of dung could support 2 million green and decent jobs in rural and peri-urban areas of India. The study also reports that the value of one kg of cow dung multiplies over ten times if used to its maximum uses.

Following are some of the products that could be developed from treating cattle dung.

Bio-Compressed Natural Gas (Bio-CNG) or Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) is a clean and renewable energy source obtained from the wasted cow dung. Bio-CNG contains about 92-98 %  methane and only 2-8 % carbon dioxide. The calorific value of Bio-CNG is about 52,000 kilojoules (kJ) per kg, which is 167 % higher than that of biogas.

Presently, there are seventeen Bio-CNG plants operational in India, with a combined capacity of 46,178 kg per day. The Bio-CNG plant located in Malur in Kolar District, Karnataka, has a production capacity of 1.6 tonnes of Bio-CNG per 40 tonnes of wet waste

Prakritik/Vedic paint: A steady source of additional income for cattle growers is being explored by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) with the innovative technology of ‘Khadi Prakritik’ paint made out of cow dung. Prakrtik / Vedic paint developed from cow dung is also ‘healthy product’ as it is devoid of plastic or synthetic ingredients and free of heavy metals like lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic and cadmium. This will help in reducing the harmful effects of heavy metals present in  commonly used synthetic paints.

Cow dung paint, is a potential income booster for farmers. The eco-friendly, non-toxic, odourless product with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties could enable a farmer to earn an additional Rs 30,000 from one cow annually. According to KVIC, with an estimated potential sales of Rs 6,000 crore of these paints in the next few years, farmers could expect to get Rs 1,000 crore by selling raw cow dung, which is now largely wasted.

Around 150-170 kg of dung is required to produce of 500 litres of Prakritik paint. To set up a plant of 500-litre per day capacity, an investment of Rs 20 lakh is required, which will be funded by government scheme for the MSME sector. Each such plant could provide direct employment to 11 people. Hence, Khadi Prakritik Paint has immense potential of creating sustainable development for the benefit of the poorest of the poor.


Owing to simple technology, many farmers are engaged in vermicomposting production as it invigorates soil health, soil productivity reduces the cost of cultivation. As a result, there is a gradual increase in demand for vermicompost due to the high level of nutrient contents. Though many progressive farmers in Jammu are preparing and selling  vermicompost, there is no large-scale commercial manufacturing of vermicompost for a large landholding farmer who wishes to switch from conventional to organic/natural farming.

 Cow dung logs are one more way of recycling cattle dung. As per one UN report, wood obtained by cutting around five crore trees is consumed every year in India to fuel the cremation. However, to date, there seems to be no large scale government plan to effectively substitute the usage of wood with products such as cow-dung logs. In Jammu, no electric crematorium is working, and all the crematoriums are using tree wood only. So, there is an excellent opportunity to replace the woods with cow dung logs.

Facts about Cow dung

  • As an estimate, a cow provides 3500 kg of cow dung, 2000 liters of cow urine, 4500 cubic feet of biogas, 100 tonnes of organic manure per year. The production of organic manure also increases by 20 to 30% in the crop.
  • One kilogram of cow manure can produce 35–40 litres of biogas when mixed with equal amount of water with hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 55–60 days maintained at an ambient temperature of24–26 °C (Kalia and Singh 2004).
  • Cow dung generated from 3–5 cattle/day can run a simple 8–10 cubic metre biogas plant which can produce 1.5–2 cubic metre biogas per day which is sufficient for the family 6–8 persons, can cook a meal for 2 or 3 times or may light two lamps for three hours or run a refrigerator for all day and can also operate a 3-KW motor-generator for one hour (Werner et al. 1989).


Dung and urine-based entrepreneurial venture can be developed into a model training centre where interested entrepreneurs (tourists and devotees coming to Jammu) from all over India can come and learn all the dung and urine-based products manufacturing at a single place. In addition, this training centre may also engage in further research and development in dung and urine-based products.

Pranav Kumar and Maninder Singh

Pranav Kumar

Senior Assistant Professor

Email :


Maninder Singh

MVSc Scholar

Division of Veterinary & Animal Husbandry

Extension Education,

Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Jammu (SKUAST-Jammu),

R.S. Pura, Jammu (UT of J&K)

India- 181102

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