First donkey farm in Karnataka opens in Bantwal

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A 42-year-old man has scripted history by starting a donkey farm at a village in Dakshina Kannada district.

The farm, which opened on June 8, is the first of its kind in Karnataka and the second in country after one in Ernakulam district of Kerala.

Srinivas Gowda, the owner of the farm, says he was moved by the plight of donkeys which were often spurned and undervalued. A BA graduate, he first started Isiri farms, an integrated agriculture and animal husbandry, veterinary services, training and fodder development centre on a 2.3-acre plot at Ira village in 2020 after quitting his job in a software company.

Starting with goat breeding, the farm already has rabbits and Kadaknath chicken. The donkey farm will have 20 donkeys to start with, Gowda said.

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He said the number of donkey species is dwindling as they are no longer used by dhobis with the advent of laundry machines and other technology to wash linen.

Gowda said several people were apprehensive and made fun of him when the idea of a donkey farm was shared with them. The donkey’s milk is delicious, very expensive and has medicinal value.

Gowda is planning to supply donkey’s milk to people in packets. A 30ml of milk packet will cost Rs 150 and it will be supplied through malls, shops and supermarkets, he said.

He also plans to sell donkey’s milk to be used for beauty products. Orders worth Rs 17 lakh has already been received, he says.

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