State government scheme of free cows and goat/sheep is yielding results
For the villagers of Kumarettiapuram, near Ettayapuram in Tuticorin district, milk, a primary nutritional source, was unavailable till December 2011.
The State government’s scheme of free distribution of milch cows and goat/sheep for the poor has helped the villagers get this primary nutrition. M. Vijayalakshmi, one of the beneficiaries, who received a cow and a calf from the government, said: “We used to buy milk from Yeppodhum Vendran, a nearby village, whenever, guests visit our home. Otherwise, we used to drink only black coffee.”
Thirty-two cows were distributed in the village in December 2011 and already 50 per cent of the distributed cows have given birth to two calves each. The villagers were taken to Pileru – a village in Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh, where the cows were identified by them. Distribution of cattle also helped the villagers to get the required nutrition source besides earning additional income for improving their living conditions.
Beneficiaries say each head of cattle gives 10 litres of milk a day. They take nearly one-and-half litres and allow the calf to consume half a litre. The rest is sold to the milk society at Rs. 17 per litre.
It is a different story for K. Kalaivani of Chinnappatti Panchayat in Madurai district, who received goats from the government and she was able to earn nearly Rs 10,000 by selling the kids. Ms. Kalaivani received the goats in June last year and within a year they delivered kids, which she sold. With the amount, she was able to pay her daughter’s school fees and the remaining amount was used for domestic purposes.
L. Indira of Kutladampatti village near Vadipatti in Madurai district, who had earlier worked in a coir unit, used to earn Rs. 150 a day. With her experience in goat rearing, she got a goat under the government scheme. She is getting green leaves for goats from her friends in the village. Beneficiaries in Therku Medu village near Courtallam received cows from the government in September 2011 and with the intermittent rains in the last 15 days, grazing has not been a problem.
Local veterinarian who is monitoring the freely distributed cows said: “Already these villagers have the experience of rearing cows. So, they show utmost care to the animals. Whenever an animal suffers from even a small problem, they bring it to the veterinary dispensary in Puliyarai.”
The animals are also being regularly monitored by veterinarians of the Animal Husbandry Department.
Animals with reproductive problems are identified and necessary interventions are made. The beneficiaries also mentioned that the pre-purchase and post-purchase training programmes conducted by the government helped them select good animals and adopt best practices.