Animal Husbandry for Tribal Women – Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

The concept of poultry farming includes raising up of domesticated birds such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese, for the purpose of farming meat, eggs and food. Poultry are farmed in great numbers with chickens being the common. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that in 2002 there were nearly sixteen billion chickens in the world, counting a total population of 15,853,900,000. In 2009 the annual chicken population in factory farms was estimated at 50 billion, with 6 billion raised in the European Union, over 9 billion raised in the United States and more than 7 billion in China.

Poultry is one of the fastest growing agriculture allied sector in India today. While the production of agricultural crops has been rising at a rate of 1.5 to 2 percent per annum, eggs and broilers have risen at a rate of 8 to 10 percent per annum. As a result, India is now the world’s fifth largest egg producer and the eighteenth largest producer of broilers. Driving this expansion is a combination of factors – growth in per capita income, a growing urban population and falling real poultry prices.

The State of West Bengal has a long tradition of backyard poultry keeping and poultry-related policies – it ranks third in India in terms of poultry population (61 million), records the highest poultry density (683 birds/sqkm) and boasts the highest per-capita consumption of eggs in the country (34 eggs/year) (FAO, 2008; GoWB, 2004). In particular, since 2005 the Directorate of Animal Resources and Animal Health of the Government of West Bengal has been implementing a State sponsored Family-based Scheme, where the 22 State Poultry Farms distribute poultry birds to rural households with the objective to establish small-scale, self-sustainable poultry production units, which provide a small and steady income to rural dwellers. Between 2005 and 2008, about 5 million birds were been distributed to around 500,000 households, which allegedly makes the Poultry Distribution Scheme the largest poultry programme in India, if not worldwide.

In the tribal areas of West Bengal the tribal communities engage themselves in NTFP collection, agriculture and allied activities. Seasonal income from agriculture compels the tribal communities to migrate for livelihood opportunities. As a result of this the socio-economic conditions of the tribal, especially the women, keeps deteriorating day by day. They not only work in the field but also have to attend to household chores, walk to the forest to collect NTFP and firewood and still do not get due recognition. This is because they don’t have access to finance and are not allowed to take any financial decisions. Lack of skills and knowledge makes livelihood opportunities less accessible for them.
Looking at the needs of the tribal women in West Bengal, we need to help in the creation of an enterprise model that can help the tribal women earn sustainable income. One of the major findings of the field study is people are very keen to learn and improve their skills for poultry farming as sustainable livelihood source. As most of the tribal women are well educated, providing them skill development trainings through CSR livelihood projects in agriculture allied activities is a good option.

Therefore, Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. believes there is a need to create awareness among the tribal community for alternate income generation activities through CSR Campaigns. Corporate houses that are spending their CSR grants in Livelihood should opt for setting up social enterprise models in the tribal areas. Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. understands motivating the community to engage in alternate income generation through CSR projects in India will help them earn additional income for their household. The area lacks initiatives in helping the tribal community to earn additional income, they tend to be reeling under perpetual poverty. Providing them with skill development trainings in poultry farming and setting up an enterprise will help them produce in bulk and get better price for it. Facilitating credit facilities and market linkages will help in proper management of supply and value chain. As Profits from such economic enterprise will ensure sustainable income generation for the tribal women beneficiaries it will also impact positively the overall socio-economic status of tribal women in the region and motivate others to engage in such initiatives.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media Team – Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

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