The success story the neighbourhood groups (NHGs) of women in different panchayats in the district are scripting under the Kudumbasree Mission by breeding goats as a means of earning has caught the attention of more micro-enterprise beneficiaries in other panchayats and other districts.
The ‘Aadu Gramam’ (goat village) project started in 2008 as a comprehensive goat breeding initiative in association with local bodies, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Krishi Vigyan Kendra-Kannur (KVK), and cooperative societies, among others, is part of the Kudumbasree Mission’s ‘Samagra’ scheme aimed at ensuring additional income to the NHG members through rearing Malabar goats. Initially started in a handful of panchayats, the goat rearing scheme offering subsidies has now been extended to 56 of the total 81 panchayats in the district. More NHGs are being trained under the scheme.
As of now 785 NHGs, each having five members, are already in the goat rearing business under the scheme and 359 more groups are waiting for release of funds by banks. Each group being given 20 goats (19 does and one buck), over 15,000 goats have already been distributed among the groups so far.
Under the scheme each household in the group should keep at least four goats. They are free to sell the excess animals. According to Kannur District Goat Breeders Society (KDGBS), which is coordinating the project, 3,526 goats have been sold through local-level goat fairs and 1,575 goats to goat rearing farmers in other districts. While, most of the goats are sold for breeding, seasonal fairs are conducted during festival seasons to sell them for meat.
“What has made the project successful and attractive is the continuous monitoring mechanism in the form of a veterinary extension team,” said Shyja Cheleri, KDGBS secretary and Kudumbasree micro-enterprise committee member.
A team member looks after 25 NHGs and visits the member households once in two weeks. The NHGs are offered a subsidy of Rs.50,000 each by the Kudumbasree Mission and Rs.20,000 each by respective local bodies. The beneficiaries should be Kudumbasree members for a period of minimum six months to be included in the goat village project, Ms. Shyja said.
Initially, a major obstacle to the goat breeding project was the difficulty of selling the goats. Periodic fairs are being organised in different centres to tide over the marketing problem. Since the society was formed in September 2011, 42 such fairs have been conducted.
“The fairs are held in a systematic way and the body weight of each goat on display for sale is indicated on tags attached, so that the beneficiaries get the price calculated on the weight,” said T. Giggin, Assistant Professor at the KVK who is involved in offering training to the NHG members. The four-day training given to each NHG included imparting of skills and orientation. The objective is to make goat breeding more scientific. Last year 349 groups were trained, he said.
The society has set up at Thillankery here a unit for processing goat droppings to be sold as compost. Its future plans include a goat milk society, a meat processing unit and cultivation of fodder grass, disclosed Ms. Shyja.
The goat village project is so successful that it will be extended to the entire district.
A goat rearing project, started in a few panchayats in 2008 under the Kudumbasree Mission, has been extended to 56 of the 81 panchayats in the district.