Beneficiaries of free goat scheme belonging to 87 villages in Erode district have begun to derive the benefits.
According to Animal Husbandry department sources, several hundreds of goats reared well by beneficiaries under the scheme have, over a two-year period, given birth to 30,254 offspring.
There are instances where four goats in possession of a single beneficiary have grown to a herd of up to 30, P. Vanangamudi, Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry Department said.
Each of the 8,021 beneficiaries comprising poorest of poor women was given four goats — three female and one male — aged between six months and one year.
According to the official estimate, the overall worth of the 32,084 goats given away as benefits so far was Rs. 10.22 crore.
During 2013-14 till date, 2,072 beneficiaries received 8,288 goats worth Rs. 2.69 crore.
The last set of beneficiaries under the scheme was 68 women of Periyaveera Sangili Panchayat who received the free goats worth Rs. 8.84 lakh on Saturday from the State Revenue Minister Thoppu. N.T. Venkatachalam and the District Collector V.K. Shanmugam.
As the worth of a free goat fixed by the State Government is Rs. 2,500, each beneficiary gains by Rs. 10,000 for the set of four goats.
Additionally, Rs. 2,000 is given per beneficiary for putting up sheds.
Several hundreds of goats have attained reproductive phase, each with a capacity to give birth to a maximum of four kids per cycle.
In Erode region, people prefer the meat of goat over sheep, and hence the beneficiaries who are permitted to sell male lambs after two years are able to get handsome returns as mutton is priced between Rs. 400 and Rs. 450 per kilogram, Mr. Vanangamudi said.
The goats are beneficial to the poor villagers as four kids are born per goat in a single cycle all through the reproductive phase.
Also, goats are easy to graze compared to sheep.
The scheme also provides for training beneficiaries in rearing of the goats, Mr. Vanangamudi said, adding that the department conducts periodic medical tests free of cost.
Four kids are born per goat in a single cycle all through the reproductive phase