Gujarat Man Sets Up Donkey Farm, Sells Milk Online At Rs 5,000 A Litre

Gujarat Man Sets Up Donkey Farm, Sells Milk Online At Rs 5,000 A Litre

Dhiren Solanki’s donkey farm in Gujarat’s Patan now has 42 donkeys


For centuries, they have been used as a metaphor for drudgery without recognition. The donkey is, however, “having the last bray”, with its milk selling at 70 times the price of milk produced by its bovine rivals.

Gujarat’s Dhiren Solanki has set up a donkey farm with 42 donkeys at his village in Patan district and is earning Rs 2-3 lakh a month by supplying donkey milk to clients in southern states.

On how his journey began, Mr Solanki says he had been looking for a government job. “I found some private jobs, but the pay would barely cover my family expenses. Around this time, I came to know about donkey rearing in south India. I met some people and set up this farm in my village about 8 months back,” he said, adding that he started with 20 donkeys and an investment of Rs 22 lakh.

The beginning was tough. There is hardly any demand for donkey milk in Gujarat, and Mr Solanki earned nothing in the first five months. He then started reaching out to companies in south India, where there is a demand for donkey milk. He now supplies to Karnataka and Kerala, and among his clients are cosmetic companies that use donkey milk in their products.

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Asked about the rate, Mr Solanki says it ranges between Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 — compare this to cow milk sold at Rs 65 a litre. The milk is stored in freezers to ensure it stays fresh. The milk is dried and sold in powdered form too, with prices going up to about a lakh for kg.

Mr Solanki now has 42 donkeys in his farm and has invested about 38 lakh rupees so far. He says he has not taken any help from the state government so far, but wants it to focus on this sector too.

The Benefits Of Donkey Milk

Donkey milk was widely used in the ancient times, with some accounts claiming that Egyptian queen Cleopatra used to bathe in it. Greek physician Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is learnt to have prescribed donkey milk for liver problems, nosebleeds, poisonings, infectious diseases and fevers.

Despite its many benefits, the prevalence of donkey milk saw a decline in the modern era, before scientists rediscovered its potential. Availability, though, is still limited and this explains the high prices.

According to a report in US’ National Library of Medicine, donkey milk’s composition is more similar to human milk compared to cow milk and makes it a great choice for infants, especially those who are allergic to cow milk.

“Another important aspect of donkey milk in the medical field is its ability to regulate intestinal microflora,” the report says, detailing its benefits in ensuring better gut health. There are also studies that point to its benefits in boosting immunity and anti-diabetic qualities. Donkey milk is also known to have a higher shelf life as it doesn’t contain several pathogens found in other forms of milk. 

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