Goat farming supports livelihoods in Rajasthan where agriculture is practically impossible
Villages in Rajasthan where agriculture is impractical due to lack of water are turning to rearing goats that are low maintenance and an assured source of income.
Manoj Choudhary 22 Feb 2023 10:33 AM GMT
Goats have proved to be best friends to inhabitants of remote villages in Dholpur district, Rajasthan. Residents of Bhampura, Durgasi, Jhiri and other villages in Dholpur, and adjacent districts like Karauli, Sawai Madhopur and Dausa depend on goats for their livelihood. The land in the area is not much conducive to growing anything and water is scarce, so that makes goat rearing even more attractive to the people.
It is the only source of income for the 30 families that reside in Gironia village in Sarmathura Tehsil, in Dholpur. “Each of the villagers purchased 16 goats at Rs 4000 each in 2008 with the help of a loan from the Bhairo Baba Pashu Dhan Vikas Samiti SHG at 1.5 percent interest rate. The Goat Resource Centre (GRC) in Sarmathura set up in 2021, also helps us with training in goat breeding and marketing facilities,” Seema Devi, one of the residents of the village, told Gaon Connection.
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“The goats are ‘Kisan ka ATM’,” joked Asha Devi another resident of Gironia. She owns 50 goats that ensure they are financially comfortable. “Even while they are breathing their last, the goats earn us money as shopkeepers purchase it for selling the mutton,” she told Gaon Connection.
According to Sitaram Baraitha from Jhiri village, who has 95 goats now, with a one time expense of about Rs 15,000, one could earn money through the year. “Even if one takes a loan of a few thousand rupees to purchase 10 goats, one can return the debt within one year,” Baraitha said.
There are Self Help Groups called Bakri Palak Pathsala in each village and then there are Jago Bakri Pathsala, a platform made up of several villages that meet once a month to discuss goat farming. During these meetings, there is information exchanged about the best practices of goat rearing, how to keep the animals healthy and safe from diseases. Para veterinary persons in the village take part in the pathshalas and raise awareness on these matters. Health camps and vaccination drives are also organized regularly.
A good return on investment
Rammurti Meena of Bhampura village, in Dholpur district, said that each goat gives birth twice a year, and can get pregnant nearly eight times in her lifespan. “A goat is ready to be sold when it is 10 to 12 months old and a farmer can get anything between Rs 7000 and Rs 15,000 per goat, depending on its size” Meena told Gaon Connection.
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A milk processing plant at Bijauli in Dholpur buys the goats milk from the villagers, from where it is supplied to places as far as the capital. “Each goat produces around 400 to 600 mls of milk daily and farmers sell them at Rs 30 to 35 per litre,” Haresh Bai of Bhampura village told Gaon Connection. “Goat milk is particularly good for people suffering dehydration, dengue, etc.,” she added. She has has 48 goats and her annual income through the goats is around Rs 85,000. She also said that ghee was made from the milk that was used in medicines.
“Farmer do not need to spend much money to feed goats as they eat mostly Bajra (pearl millet) with Dalia and salt. Goats graze at agriculture plots after farmers cut down grains from the field.
Support for rearing goats
In February 2021, the Goat Resource Centre (GRC) was set up in Sarmathura by the Dholpur based non-profit Manjari Foundation. The foundation set it up with the financial help of Rs 25 lakh by HDFC Bank. There are 495 farmers registered at this centre, where they get help with setting up goat sheds, training on rearing the goats, medical facilities and other marketing facilities at a nominal one time registration fee of Rs 200. Once they have registered, they have to pay very nominal amounts for medical procedures if required for the goats and vaccinations. Manjari has also enabled loans for the farmers of up to Rs 25000 from federation level SHG at about 1.5 per cent interest.
“Nearly 4,000 farmers in Sarmathura are directly or indirectly benefiting from the centre. Twice a month a haat or market place is set up at the centre and hundreds of farmers visit the centre,”Satyendra Sengar of Manjari Foundation, told Gaon Connection.
Manjari Foundation conducts village to district level training for helping goat farmers. Pashu Dhan Sahayak and other support staff in villages help farmers too. In December 2022, Manjari with the financial assistance of HDFC, gave each of 30 farmers of Dholpur two goats worth Rs 15,000, free of cost.
A profitable livelihood for women
Altogether 21 women residents of Gironia are members of the SHG Bakri Palak Pathsala in the village. Their families are mostly dependent on goat farming and they earn annually up to Rs 1 lakh with an initial investment of only Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for purchasing one or two goats depending on their size.
Baddi Bai from Bhagatpura village in Dholpur purchased 11 goats in 2005. She now has 59 goats and her annual income is now Rs 1 lakh. With her earnings Baddi Bai educated her three daughters and two sons and constructed a house. She had availed of a loan of Rs 33, 000 from the SHG in her village called Bhamia Baba Mahila Bachat Samiti in her village to start goat farming and she returned the money with 1.5 percent interest.