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Young Dairy Farmers from Rajasthan’s Kota City sell Cow Dung Cakes online on Amazon

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Cow dung, Wikimedia
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Jaipur, May 7, 2017: Three young entrepreneurs from Rajasthan’s Kota city — otherwise known as an education hub — have taken their 15-year-old dairy farming family business to the next level and are now selling cow dung cakes on e-tailing site Amazon.

“We found potential in this business. For the last three months, we have been selling cow dung cakes on Amazon,” Amanpreet Singh, one of the three directors of APEI Organic Foods, said.

These cakes, about the size of a quarter-plate, are priced at Rs 120 per dozen. They currently have an average sale of 15 consignments — each of 500-1,000 cakes — per week.

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“We are getting a good response, mainly from Mumbai, Delhi and Pune,” Singh said.

The product is packaged in such a way that the cakes don’t break.

For starters, the dung, which is a semi-liquid mixture, is first dried. It is then put into a circular die which goes through a heat-shrinking process. The finished product is then packed in cardboard boxes and dispatched.

Singh stated that the idea of reaching out to buyers online came due to the demand from Tier-I cities, where there is lack of any livestock management and dairies. “People basically want it for religious purposes in these cities,” Singh added.

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The company’s livestock farm is spread over 40 acres near Kota and has 120 cows. It is equipped with modern infrastructure, effective connectivity, skilled manpower and other amenities.

The family-owned organic dairy milk brand is aptly titled “GAU” — meaning cow — but has been derived from the initials of the three directors, Gagandeep Singh, Amanpreet Singh and Uttamjyot Singh.

The promoters are likely to be in great demand at the forthcoming Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) being held in Kota from May 24 to 26.

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Singh said that the fodder for the cows is grown organically in a healthy and well-nurtured environment. Waste from the dairy farm is utilised to produce electricity, gas, vermicompost and cowdung cakes.

The company has installed radio-frequency identification (RFID) on the livestock which helps them track the health and nutrition of the cattle from anywhere across the world.

The director claimed that this dairy farm also has Rajasthan’s first biogas plant that generates electricity. This is the only source of electricity at the farm, producing 40 KW per day. This saves around Rs 24 lakh annually, he added. (IANS)

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‘Sooner, Faster, Now’ — the Companies Surfing the E-Commerce Wave

Online retail sales are growing at double-digit percentage rates in every western European country

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E-Commerce
People walk past a Debenhams store in Stockport, Britain, Jan. 4, 2018. VOA

Amazon’s assault on the retail industry has brought misery to traditional retailers without a strong web presence.

Less well noticed is the patchwork of European companies that are turning the e-commerce revolution to their advantage, supplying online giants with everything from forklift trucks and storage space to cardboard boxes and automated warehouses.

Mainly bricks-and-mortar retailers such as Debenhams, H&M, and Marks & Spencer have faced a torrid few years as stretched consumers increasingly look online for bargains.

Online retail sales are growing at double-digit percentage rates in every western European country, according to consultancy the Centre for Retail Research.

ALSO READ: With third largest internet user base, India’s e-commerce still falls behind China’s e-market

E-Commerce
In Britain, a fifth of transactions is now conducted online, a five-fold increase over the last decade. Wikimedia Commons

The world’s dominant online retailer Amazon, whose shares have soared 73 percent in the last year, is outside the remit of most European investors because it is U.S. listed, so they have had to look for other ways of buying into the trend.

One is investing in companies that have benefited from the rise of e-commerce.

On February 16, warehouse owner Segro’s shares hit a decade-high after it said space-hungry clients, many in online retail and logistics, continued to buy up storage.

E-Commerce
“There is a bull market in impatience,” said Gary Paulin, head of global equities at broker Northern Trust. “Consumers want things sooner, faster, now.” Wikimedia Commons

 

He advises clients to buy shares in Kion, a German forklift truck-maker that is automating warehouses for online retailers, speeding up deliveries in the process.

He also flagged a turnaround at online supermarket Ocado. The company has long been targeted by short-sellers betting its share price will fall, but recently it has signed tie-ups with food retailers Casino and Sobeys, and its shares have more-than-doubled since November.

Martin Todd, a fund manager at Hermes Investment Management, owns shares in Kion as well as DS Smith, a cardboard-box maker which supplies Amazon as well as a number of other online retailers.

DS Smith is developing technology to custom-make boxes for Amazon that will help reduce large gaps in packages that increase freight costs.

E-Commerce
Buying some stocks exposed to online retail does not come cheap. Ocado shares are currently trading at more than 800 times forecast earnings, according to Eikon data. Wikimedia Commons

ALSO READ: E-commerce driving India’s SME growth

“You might think it is a pretty unsexy business … [but] it is getting a more high tech in what is traditionally a very low tech industry,” Todd said.

The company recently entered Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index for the first time.

John Bennett, head of European equities at Janus Henderson Investors, said while traditional retailers were “absolutely dying,” stocks such as Kion were too expensive for him to own.

“It became a very popular name, and I tend to shy away [from widely-owned companies],” he said. “I am far too curmudgeonly on the multiples you pay.” (VOA)