Goat milk was like ‘elixir’ for village kids during lockdownUpdated: Jul 06, 2020 18:29 IST
The goat has received the least attention among milch animals in the country and is supposed to be an asset of the very poor. Yet its milk helped scores of undernourished kids in Uttar Pradesh during the lockdown.
Four-and-a-half-year old Jeetu’s father Ajay Kumar, a daily wage labourer in Bada Tal Maiti village, Barabanki, said: “Jeetu never had milk -- cow’s or buffalo’s. When he drank the goat milk offered to him for the first time, he relished it and looked forward to it every day. He used to pick up his glass and troop out to the free goat milk distribution spot during the first 35 days of intense Covid-19 lockdown.”
“His health showed visible improvement and his weight increased. He did not miss even a day.”
The Goat Trust, a voluntary organisation engaged in promotion and support of goat rearing -- especially in Bundelkhand and Lucknow region of the state -– faced disruption in its commercial milk supply during the lockdown. So it chose free distribution and on-the-spot goat milk-drinking campaign for 138 under-nourished children in Bada Tal (Barabanki) and Newada, Dhawa Takia and Achchhripurwa villages of Lucknow.
“We checked their undernourishment parameters before and after the 35-day campaign. A total of 129 children showed marked positive growth. There was an average of 500-gram weight gain among the 129 and 10 of these children gained an average of 1.32 kg. Nine did not show any noticeable change. In all the villages, not even one child missed his daily dose of a glass of goat milk,” said Sanjeev Kumar, founder of the Goat Trust.
He said: “While the government made arrangements for food security to people, we thought to provide some nutrition to these children during the lockdown.”
Sanjeev Kumar, a social entrepreneur and an Ashok fellow (2013) had founded the Goat Trust in 2013 to promote systematic goat rearing as a means of livelihood and nutrition in rural areas of the state. Last year, the trust set up a milk pasteurisation plant near Kukrail forest area in Lucknow and began buying milk from its member goat-rearers.
An alumnus of the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Sanjeev Kumar said: “Most of the people buy our goat milk as medicine. The goat milk has many health benefits and is also healthier than cow/buffalo milk. Maximum of our consumers are elderly with digestive, heart, or diabetes issues and goat milk is beneficial in all these diseases. But it is not as tasty as the other kinds of milk.”