To promote goat and sheep rearing in the district, the Animal Husbandry department will distribute sheep and goats to farmers with 90% financial assistance.
Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry D. Suresh Christopher said this programme was implemented under the National Livestock Mission 2019-20. Madurai is among the 21 districts in Tamil Nadu selected for the scheme. Dr. Christopher said the idea was to motivate landless, small and marginal farmers to opt for sheep and goat rearing in their backyard or in common property, thereby improving their household income and their nutritional intake.
“In the past few years, there has been a great increase in demand for mutton and hence goat and sheep rearing has become a profitable business,” he added. In Madurai, four blocks - Vadipatti, Sedapatti, T. Kallupatti and Kallikudi - had been chosen for the implementation of the scheme. From each block, 45 landless farmers would be selected.
While the financial assistance provided by the Central and State government were 60% and 30% respectively, the beneficiary had to bear the rest.
Each farmer would get 10 high-yielding adult female sheep or goats and one male sheep or goat. While the total cost was ₹66,000, a farmer had to pay ₹6,600.
A five-member group will be formed for each veterinary dispensary jurisdiction, which will select the beneficiaries from potential villages from each block to form a cluster. “We are focussing on forming a cluster as it will be useful for the beneficiaries to pool in resources and have collective livestock farming in the future. Our ultimate aim is to form a Livestock Producer Company so that the farmers can trade their produce for good prices and earn profits,” he said.
Preference will be given to below poverty line women farmers, widows and differently abled people. A minimum of 30% of beneficiaries would belong to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.Interested farmers can approach the nearest veterinary dispensary with necessary documents before June 25.