Ditu Parmar of a Madhya Pradesh tribal village is semi-literate but talks about how to make poultry business profitable like a true professional.
Ditu, 28, is one of the 17 ‘Murgi Sakhis’ (friends of poultry) — the name given by local NGO Sampark to the women who are engaged in making poultry business a profitable venture across Madhya Pradesh’s 10 villages in Jhabua district’s Rama block, around 350 kilometres from Bhopal.
The venture is being assisted by the state veterinary department.
The Sakhis’ task is to bring down mortality and morbidity among poultry, especially in the Kadknath breed, which is found mostly in the Jhabua-Alirajpur region.
The breed is famous for its jet black colour and distinct meat taste. It is sold between rs 800 and `1,200 per head. But, the locals had given up its breeding due to its high mortality rate, which reflected as a loss in their books.
However, just a year ago, Ditu got down to reviving the local livelihood option by carrying out de-worming and vaccination of poultry at a nominal cost along with imparting tips to poultry farmers about the right feed and right care in the block.
The volunteers charge just Rs 1 per de-worming session (eight required annually) and Rs 2 per vaccine (three annually).
Ditu, who herself runs a poultry business in Sadh village, said, “My family’s economic condition has changed a lot (by the Murgi Sakhi approach). Now I can easily fund my daughter’s education in the town (Petlawad).”
Sampark head Nilesh Desai said Murgi Sakhis’ efforts were showing results now. “The mortality rate has dipped considerably to about 25-30% from the earlier 70-80%, which has made poultry farming a profitable proposition. Now many families in the villages which earlier kept a few poultry birds for personal use, have now taken to poultry farming as a business.”
Pushpa, another poultry farmer from the same village, mentions that she reared 50 chickens including about two dozen Kadaknath breed and made a profit of over Rs 10,000 two months ago.
“I used the money to pay the school fee of my children. Till last year, we had to seek loan at a high interest from the local moneylenders and the vicious cycle never ended,” Pushpa said.
Desai said that from July this year, the model had been replicated in 330 villages and 125 Murgi Sakhis had already been trained.
“Now the de-worming and vaccination plan has been extended to goat rearing too and we are calling the workers Pashu Mitra (friends of animals),” he said.
Desai said that a team of the National Livestock Mission led by joint secretary Sanjay Bhoosreddy visited the villages and was impressed by the model to propose a replication in other parts of the country.
Deputy director of state veterinary department SS Tiwari said that engaging local women in de-worming and vaccination had not only helped the department achieve its target but also bettered the livelihood prospects of villagers.
“We provide free vaccines to the volunteers. Last year, we gave subsidised poultry racks and chicks to about 300 BPL villagers in the district and this year we plan to benefit 300 more,” he said.