Cattle Mettle

Cattle Mettle: Affordable and sustainable feeds from invasive species in arid/semi-arid regions

Jodhpur, IndiaJodhpur, India
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Arid and Semi-Arid regions face year-round feed/fodder deficit. The cost of feeds rise quickly in stress months.Cattle Mettle provides cattle feed at 50% lower than the market price and supports profitable milk production while creating additional livelihoods in raw material collection.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if milk's price gets reduced substantially because the small dairy farmers' could now save up to 50% of their spending on feeding cattle round the year!
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Over 50 Million small rural households in India derive their livelihood from milk production which is fast becoming unprofitable. With year-round deficit of good fodder and cultivable lands, farmers are now largely dependent on high cost grains or grain based concentrate cattle feed to provide nutrition to cattle. The situation becomes even worse in drought prone areas due to increasing conflicts between human and animal grain consumption.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Cattle Mettle is a sustainable cattle feed product line composed of invasive plant species with minimal grain inclusion. It is 30 to 50% cheaper than existing market products and is in compliance with regulatory standards of Indian cattle nutrition. Our first product is based on pods from Mesquite, which spreads in millions of hectares in India and many other Latin American and African countries. We replace the high cost commodities like grains and oil seed cakes with mesquite pods and micro algae and, hence insulate the feed costs from commodity market fluctuations. We engage, empower and incentivize rural youth and women in raw material collections and create opportunities to co-develop and co-own the raw material supply chains.

Awards

International Award 2015 for Innovative technologies in Agri-business by United Nations Industrial Development Organization at EXPO Milano 2015; Asia-Africa winners of Global Social Venture Competition 2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Feed costs make up to 70% of cost of milk production. For example, Rama Devi from Jodhpur, Rajasthan feeds grains (USD $227/ Ton) and feeds (USD $ 275/ TOns) to her cows but produces sufficient milk just to sustain her family needs. She just feeds dry fodder at times when cost of grains and green fodder are high. With inefficient feeding, the productivity of cow has gone down. By providing cattle feed at just USD $ 150/ Tons, Cattle Mettle could help her save on costs of grains and feed which she could be use on other essential activities like education, health, food and leisure. Moreover, she could buy cattle feed in lieu of mesquite pods which she could collect from wastelands near her house and sell it to us directly.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Cattle Mettle would have huge Socio-Economical and Environmental impact in next 5 years of time where we see ourselves serving the Asian, African and Latin American cattle markets. We aim to create 20, 000 new jobs in raw material collection in next five years disbursing USD $ 250 each for just 2.5 hours of work for 100 days in a year. 30% of saving on cattle feed could translate into saving over USD $ 30 Million collectively in fifth year at 1000 Tons/ day production level. We have huge environment impact as we check the spread the invasive species like Mesquite into urban and arable lands.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We have two revenue streams, one from business to business (B2B) sales as in case of dairies and animal shelters and other from business to customers (B2C) sales as in case of small dairy farmers. We would generate 20-25% profits by selling cattle feed priced at 30-50% lower to the current market products to small dairy farmers, dairies and animal shelters. We already have the pre-orders for our upcoming production cycle.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Cattle feed manufacturers follow the conventional formulations especially with grains and grain husks. As the cost of agricultural raw materials is higher in arid and semi-arid regions due to minimal agricultural activities, the production of cattle feed is costlier and hence it is highly priced. In contrast, we mainly include locally sourced/ produced raw materials from arid/ semi-arid regions and create additional employment opportunities for the local population. Our competitors are other cattle feed manufacturers like Saras, Godrej, Cargill and other small cattle feed manufacturers.
Team

Founding Story

Idea of Cattle Mettle stems from our experience at grassroots when we found the difficulties faced by farmers to sustain profitable milk production. Nikhil surveyed for JICA in Udaipur, India and found that poor farmers still spend much on feeding cattle out of their love towards animal despite of low animal productivity. Overtime, he got aware about local knowledge around mesquite pods in feeding cattle and got in touch with regional research institutes like CAZRI and an NGO called DECO to understand the resources at hand better and developed a sustainable business model to enable farmers save on cattle feeds while ensuring better cattle health and productivity.

Team

Nikhil Bohra, Founder and CEO, is an Engineer in Biotechnology from VIT University, Vellore and has researched cultivating and harvesting micro-algae as an alternative food. He has 4 years of experience working at grassroots level with NGOs under projects from European Union, JICA etc. and social enterprises, functioning across environmental conservation, nutrition, water, sanitation and health (WASH). Dr. Krishna Kant Bohra, Co-founder and COO, is Doctorate in Chemistry and has researched organic and inorganic chemical formulations. He has over 30 years of experience working in chemical testing, production and project management and, brings his expertise in quality control in cattle feed, minerals and chemical production.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

We got to know about this award from previous awardee Gamal Albinsaid from Garbage Clinical Insurance at GSVC 2015.

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Nikhil has been associated with entrepreneurial ventures since his days from under-graduation. He has founded-
1) Earth Charter Youth Group, Jodhpur
2) Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Development. VIT University
3) Social Transformers, VIT University
Nikhil also consults startups in Marketing, Sales and Operations strategy.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We are currently mentored by Dr. Mary Spaeth from Texas State University, USA who guides us on all major business decisions. We are also exploring further partnership opportunities with Texas State University to co-develop sustainable low-cost cattle feed products for different geographical markets.