Helping families earn an income from rearing goats
In 2015 we conducted extensive research into the viability of our third enterprise, goat-farming, known locally as ‘Goateries’. Goats are greatly valued and called the “cow of the poor” in West Bengal and fetch high prices at market. We have designed a model that will allow our farmers to become self-sufficient by breeding and selling goats.
Farmers pay a small deposit and receive two female goats on loan, plus expert training and insurance for their animals. Over the next two years each female will go through three reproductive cycles and produce five kids. As a repayment for the loan, the farmer gives five goat kids back to Nirdhan and keeps the other five to sell and/or breed from. The two original goats are also returned to Nirdhan when they are three years old.
This model not only allows our farmers to establish their own small goat farming enterprise, but it also provides an income for Nirdhan, as we can sell the goats and kids and reinvest this income back into the programme. The model is financially sustainable and means that farmers are not dependent on our intervention in the long term.
In January 2016, we launched a pilot programme working with 20 families in our Babnan location, a predominantly Muslim area where the desire to own goats is high. In 2018 and 2019 the programme has been rolled out to 344 families. All these farmers will be independent of our support in March 2021. They have a minimum herd size of 11 to carry on the enterprise on their own.