With the diminishing opportunities in agriculture and the lack of water for assured irrigation, villagers in Rajasthan are turning more and more to goat-rearing, and are realizing its viability as a livelihoods option, opening up possibilities of enhanced income and self-sufficiency
I n 2003, Asha (the name means Hope) became a goat-rearing farmer. She purchased 15 goats and a buck under the World Bank-funded District Poverty Initiative Project (DPIP), from a village 20 km away from hers. She invested Rs 32,000 in this venture, of which Rs 18,320 was provided by DPIP. She took a loan from the local moneylender for the remaining amount by mortgaging some of her belongings at the rate of three per cent per month.
Taking up goat-rearing as an income-generation activity proved to be a great blessing for her family. With the income she got from goat-rearing, she built a two-room, cement house. Three years ago when she needed money for the marriage of her son, she sold some of her goats for Rs 1,40,000. She used a part of this for the marriage. Earlier, her family owned a camel, which her husband used to ferry illegally cut trees to the nearby market, earning thereby about Rs 60–80 on alternate days. They sold the camel and are focusing on goat-rearing alone. They earn a handsome income from rearing goats and lead a more dignified life now.
At the time of induction of goats, Asha had 15 animals with five kid goats. The first thing she did when she began goat-rearing was to de-worm and vaccinate her goats. She spends a lot of time looking after the goat kids and is seen feeding them milk with a bottle at times, and grooming and cleaning them at other times. She is very particular about hygiene, cleaning the goat-shed twice a day. Although she cannot read the names of the medicines, she can identify the ones that her animals may need by their colour.