Livestock is integrated part of rural livelihood systems in India particularly for small and marginal farmers. Livestock plays very critical role in risk mitigation in addition to income source for rural people. In the regions where adequate land and water resources are available dairy has emerged as important income source for the farmers. Goat rearing and poultry are less input intensive hence suitable for farmers having low resource base. Over the period of time AKRSP(I) has worked with all three sector; goat rearing, dairy and poultry.
Goat rearing is practiced at large scale in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Generally most marginalized communities are engaged in this activity. AKRSP(I)'s goat rearing program has several key interventions leading to quantum jump in productivity and income levels.
Key elements of goat rearing program
- Women into Goat Rearing Groups (GRGs) to create platform for extension of best practices and collective action.
- Creating a cadre of women extension workers called pashusakhis to provide preventive health services for goats. PashuSakhi's services include deworming, vaccinations and knowledge extension. PashuSakhis charge for their services from the goat rearers to ensure the viability of their services.
- Capacity building and knowledge extension is largely around housing, preventive healthcare, breeding, feeding and financial services
- Facilitation of government schemes including vaccination drives and health camps in villages.
- Future plan also includes marketing of goats through producer's organizations to ensure better prices for farmers.
Outcomes of Goat Rearing Program
- Our goat rearing program currently reaches more than 55000 goat rearing households
- Within a year, mortality rates are decreased drastically to around 6% from prevailing 20% to 30% mortality rates in villages. This leads to direct impact on income levels.
- Over 1200 village level Pashu Sakhis (Paravets) trained
- The majority of the PashuSakhis are able to generate additional income in the range of Rs.500 to Rs.2000 per month from their services.
- Mobilization efforts by PashuSakhis have helped in effective implementation of vaccination drives run by the government.
- Production of feed block at the local level is emerging as a good micro-enterprise activity for women's groups.
Dairy emerged as a very important livelihood activity, especially in areas where irrigation areas has increased due to the constant efforts of government and other development agencies. Tribal regions and the Saurashtra region in Gujarat benefitted the most from this.
Our dairy program has benefitted over 5200 farmers, mostly in Gujarat.