Even as farmers in the drought-hit Osmanabad district have fallen on hard times, ‘Osmanabadi goat’ has provided livelihood to 250 families in the region, who have started making soaps using goat milk.

With the help of a local non-government organisation, farming families in 25 villages of Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district have turned to making soaps.

This project is aimed at helping families of farmers who have committed suicide or have fallen on hard times, CEO of Shivar Sanstha Vinayak Hegana said.

“Rather than providing financial help to suffering families, we decided to teach them a way of earning their livelihood. We taught them how they could profit by taking care of Osmanabadi goats rather than selling them in the market,” Hegana said.

An agriculture graduate, Hegana has conducted an extensive research about the benefits of goat milk.

“Rich in vitamins A and E, selenium and alpha hydroxy acids, goat’s milk can cure skin ailments, Hegana said, adding that the organisation had registered a patent in July and immediately started production of these soaps.

As the organisation does not have an industrial plant, a workshop is set up at one of the farmers’ home, where the whole operation takes place, he said.

“We pay the farmers ₹300 for a litre of Osmanabadi goat’s milk, and they earn ₹150 for each day’s work,” Hegana said.

At least 250 families are involved in this trade using 1,400 goats, he said, adding that the organisation plans to rope in 10,000 more families for this project and are looking to tap into national and international markets as well.

“Our department has distributed goats to farmers in these villages, and are planning use milk from these goats for the soap project,” deputy divisional agriculture officer Bhaskar Kolekar said.