Nirdhan lay stress upon the fact that training is continually necessary to implement an effective programme and all home-farmers and staff require more and better training to acquire skills sets that can enable them to engage in enterprises that will lift them out of poverty.
We have contracted BASIX in year 2011 to enable us to start the programme. One of the major reasons for contracting BASIX to help Nirdhan start its livelihood poultry project was that they are experts in this area and could train our staff on a daily basis on creating and implementing a successful programme. Nirdhan staff has been fully trained over a period of one year for sole management of the project. We have also developed an excellent relationship with BASIX whereby we could turn to them at any time if problems arose. Our staff members and home-farmers have visited BASIX’s operations in Odisha and learnt on a daily basis from interacting with the BASIX staff based at Familia.
In our pilot project, none of our home-farmers had received any prior training on poultry farming and at community meetings in both phase one and phase two, we heard how the government of West Bengal gave many villagers “free chickens” but because they did not know how to look after them, they all died. BASIX staff focused much time on training registered home-farmers on general awareness of poultry farming especially backyard poultry. Training was conducted in the selected villages covering the following topics:
- Different breeds for different purposes
- Growing tendency of different breeds
- Egg laying capacity of different breeds
- Economics of different breeds
- Major diseases of poultry birds
- Prevention measures including vaccination
- Different low cost housing models suitable for back yard poultry and scientific housing
- Feed requirement of birds at different stages
- Low cost feed preparation at household level
- Different reasons of mortality and how to minimize mortality rate.
Home-farmers were selected to visit BASIX’s PDS operations in Odisha. The purpose was to create confidence among home-farmers and expose them to poultry farming of different scales from backyard poultry to mini commercial units. The home-farmers were able to both interact with farmers in Odisha as well as attend class room training to plan their own poultry operations and share knowledge to future home-farmers back home.
Nirdhan’s local livelihood service providers (LSPs), regularly visit the home-farmers on a twice daily basis to remind them of what they have learnt to date and prepare them for the next phase in poultry farming. The training received by home-farmers has been one of the major pieces of positive feedback that we have been given.