I am Dr Shalini Vaswani, 35, working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Veterinary Science, Mathura, India.
I personally feel that the worth of my research or my knowledge in real sense is when it is utilized for socioeconomic upliftment of resource-poor landless farmers, especially women, apart from compiling it as research articles for contributing to scientific world.
Though this also is part of my professional duties, but the women inside me is in search of break from where I can live my dream… From this platform, I think I can plan my ideas for execution.
The target of my innovation is to provide sustainability and livelihood to weaker sections of society by providing the subsidiary income and supplemental nutrition to addresses the issues of poverty and malnutrition, especially for women and children.
Based on my experience in veterinary and animal husbandry, I want to promote backyard poultry farming for the people below poverty line (BPL) adjoining my university areas, to mainly enable them to gain extra income and nutritional support for livelihood.
Backyard poultry, a tool for economic empowerment, serves as an inexpensive and reasonable source to get highly nutritious food. This form of production is characterized by low-cost initial inputs, with birds allowed free movement in scavenge mode for backyard rearing.
The birds can be kept with minimal biosecurity and products can be consumed locally or within the household. As the eggs and meat produced from backyard poultry farming nearly organic, fetches high price and are of high demand among the consumers.
No elaborate housing is required for keeping birds, only night shelters are needed that can be constructed with low-cost materials like bamboo, wooden planks, nets, etc.—easily available at a reasonably low cost.
It is a way to boost up in family income by utilizing the services of women in addition to their household responsibilities.
It is an activity that the women can undertake without having to leave the household and do not have to allocate any extra time to manage the flock and can generates quick and frequent returns.
The technical steps for execution are as follows:
- Identification of Beneficiaries, most of which are from BPL families.
- They will be provided with backyard varieties of vaccinated chicks of three weeks age.
- Before this age the chicks will be kept in the mother unit of the university farm under proper managemental conditions.
- The chicks allotted to a family will be given in three (20, 15 and 10) instalments, and at an interval of six months in order to acquaint them with handling and management of chicks.
- They will be provided with one-time assistance (say Rs 1,000/family) to build the night shelter for birds.
- Necessary technical assistance for rearing the flocks will be given to them regularly by university and State Veterinary department.
- The products—egg, additional males, and spent hens—will be sold by beneficiaries in local market or can be consumed by them.
The University has a well-established poultry farm with parent stock and hatchery. The chicks being hatched are exclusively sold to marginal farmers at subsidized rates.
The impact of the project can be evaluated by assessing the socioeconomic status and malnutrition markers of the beneficiaries adopted before and after the project.
An appropriate beneficiary people appraisal report pro forma will be designed before the commencement of project. The duration of project will be 1.5–2 years. The budgetary grant of USD 5,000 will be utilized under following headings:
- Procurement of chicks to be distributed
- Maintaining chicks for the period of 3 weeks i.e. age of distribution
- Providing cost for building night shelter for keeping birds
- Training, Technical assistance, visit, surveys and other miscellaneous expenditure
I am hopeful that the project will provide an avenue for resource-poor farmers to increase production, improve their livelihoods, reduce malnutrition and thereby, contribute to the goal of overall poverty alleviation.
It will enhance food security at household levels and improve nutritional status in the form of availability of valuable animal protein and can also play an important role in women empowerment.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Dr Shalini Vaswani (India): mailto:shalini_vet[at]yahoo.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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