Cow dung patties selling like hotcakes online in India

Cow dung patties selling like hotcakes online in India

Like consumers around the globe, Indians are flocking to the online marketplace in droves these days. There’s one unusual item flying off the virtual shelves: Online retailers are selling cow dung patties.

The patties — cow poop mixed with hay and dried in the sun, formed mainly by women in rural areas and used to fuel fires — have long been available in India’s villages. But online retailers, including Amazon and eBay, are now reaching out to the country’s ever-increasing urban population, feeding into the desire of older city folks to harken back to their childhoods in the village.

“Cow dung cakes have been listed by multiple sellers on our platform since October, and we have received several customer orders” since then, said Madhavi Kochar, an Amazon India spokeswoman.

In India, where Hindus have long worshipped cows as sacred, cow dung cakes have been used for centuries for fires, whether for heating, cooking or Hindu rituals. Across rural India, piles of drying cow dung are ubiquitous.

Online retailers said people also bought the dung cakes to light fires marking the new year and for the winter festival known as Lohri, celebrated in northern India.

The cakes are sold in packages that contain two to eight pieces weighing 200 grams each. Prices range from 100 to 400 rupees (U.S. $1.50 to $6) per package.

The Associated Press