Easy to rear on farms, the animals' economic returns are encouraging
Farmers don't need a veterinarian to tell them to rear some animals like pig, goat or poultry to boost their income.
“They have been doing it for centuries. But they definitely require our assistance and suggestions to maintain their animals in a healthy condition.
“This becomes more imperative, after the recent Thane cyclone devastated several hundred hectares of fields in Cuddalore and Villupuram areas in Tamil Nadu. Though the government acted swiftly to bring some remedial measures to the people — a vast majority of them being farmers — the role of our University in it assumes importance,” says Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVASU) Vice-Chancellor, Dr. R. Prabakaran.
Hundreds of jack and cashew trees got uprooted, acres of paddy destroyed, and in one day the farmer found himself penniless — with nothing to support him.
Though steps are being taken to replant better hybrid and high yielding trees it will take a minimum of 3-4 years for them to yield and start giving some income to the affected farmers.
“But today a farmer needs money, that too as soon as possible. In agriculture it is not possible to earn fast. It takes time and needs patience. But if farmers decide to rear animals like goats, sheep, turkey, guinea fowls and pigs, their income will come quicker,” he says.
To rear these animals, farmers don't need to invest much.
These animals can be reared in open places, in backyards and require minimal care and attention. But their economic returns are quite encouraging.
“In fact the demand for guinea fowls in Kerala is so huge that our farmers must opt to start rearing them apart from broilers and layers.
“Present demand for the birds is nearly five lakhs and we hardly supply 3,000 birds. The rest comes from Orissa and other states. A one-day-old chick cost Rs. 45 from private dealers,” he adds.
Prepared to guide
“Our University is ready to help interested farmers to set up such vocations. We are prepared to guide and help them right from starting a new venture to getting financial assistance.
“All farmers need to do is to call, fix an appointment and come over to meet us personally,” he explains.
According to Dr. Prabakaran if farmers start rearing poultry, they can get a reasonable remuneration to see them through difficult times.
For instance, poultries start yielding income from the sixth or seventh month onwards to provide the much needed financial support. Tanuvas has developed new breeds of goat and poultry birds that can usher in good income for the affected farmers.
“Farmers need not despair as new avenues are open to them and they can try to supplement their income until crop prospects are revived and improved,” says, Dr. Prabakaran.
The Government, for its part, is distributing free milch cows, goats and sheep to help these farmers, and has instructed the University to start conducting exhibitions on different aspects of livestock rearing, maintenance, and more importantly the marketing channels for the same - once every three months in different regions.
The main objective of organizing such exhibitions is to increase the awareness about the need for rearing some animals to increase income among farmers.
“While there is no doubt that information relating to farm animals and their maintenance is available both on the net and at several institutes of our university, the sad fact is that not many patronize them,” rues Dr. Prabakaran.
“These regular exhibitions promise to break all that. It is like a proactive action from the scientists to reach the farmers doorsteps and offer all information and guide to him,” he says hopefully.
The first exhibition is going to be held at Srirangam, Tiruchi, from Feb 24 to 26th and is expected to become popular among farmers.
Several stalls are going to be set up, with an aim to provide every opportunity to the livestock farmers to gain knowledge about scientific technologies appropriate to be adopted in the region.
“Well organized 50 concept based stalls are going to be set up complete with charts, pamphlets, books, CDs and experts for the farmers to interact with.
Live exhibits will also be displayed. Seminars and guest lectures on profitable micro entrepreneurial livestock enterprises are also going to be held on all the three days.
Interested readers can call Dr. R. Prabakaran on mobile: 94440-81208, phone: 044-25551574 and 25551575 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to get guidance.