Reaching the Unreached
Banks have been focusing mainly on financing of milch animals under various government sponsored programmes and dairy activities. Calf rearing scheme has not been popular among farmers also for a number of reasons like its long gestation period, disbursement being made over a period of 2 ½ years in small amounts and unwillingness of the farmer to take up such a long term activity. Normally, when a cow is purchased under a bank loan, a calf at foot (of one month age) is also purchased along with the cow. Half of such calves are females and can be grown as quality cows if they are cross bred. Since borrowers are financed for a minimum of 2 cows with a gap of 6 months in between, most of the farmers will have at least one female cross bred calf which can be covered with the scheme.
Genuine women farmers interested in dairy activity were covered under the scheme of Rastriya Mahila Kosh. Even though dairying is a traditional activity in our country, it is important that the banks ensure that the farmers are trained well in calf rearing before finance is made available. So training was imparted to 40 number of women beneficiaries and loan was availed by 38 beneficiaries underRastriya Mahila Kosh. Even a small dairy farmer were encouraged to go in for calf rearing as the space requirement and other help needed was very minimal for this activity.
Rural backyard poultry, though still contributing nearly 30% to the national egg production, is the most neglected one. This is in spite of the fact that their poultry eggs and meat fetch a much higher price than that from commercial poultry. It is well known fact that a fairly significant proportion of the landless and marginal farmers eke out their living from poultry and other small ruminants. Backyard poultry requiring hardly any infrastructure set-up is a potent tool for upliftment of the poorest of the poor. Besides income generation, Rural backyard poultry provides nutrition supplementation in the form of valuable animal protein and empowers women.
Four units were being established in Kadavur area to uplift the women farming community in Mettupatti village. In the initial phase 25 number of women farmers were trained on backyard poultry to enhance the skill orientation and up gradation of the rural community.
Goats are among the main meat-producing animals in India, whose meat (chevron) is one of the choicest meats and has huge domestic demand. Due to its good economic prospects, goat rearing under intensive and semi-intensive system for commercial production has been gaining momentum for the past couple of years.
Goat farming system was established with the technical backup of UVTRC Karur and 10 number of commercial goat farms were established in different areas of Kadavur block of Karur district with the financial assistance of Mahalir Thittam.
Sheep with its multi-facet utility for wool, meat, milk, skins and manure, form an important component of rural economy particularly in the arid, semi-arid areas of the Tamil Nadu. It provides a dependable source of income to the shepherds through sale of wool and animals. The advantages of sheep farming viz., Sheep do not need expensive buildings to house them and on the other hand require less labour than other kinds of livestock. Sheep are economical converter of grass into meat and wool. Sheep will eat varied kinds of plants compared to other kind of livestock. This makes them excellent weed destroyer.
High demand for sheep and its products with potential of good economic returns have been deriving many progressive farmers and educated youths to take up the goat enterprise on a commercial scale. The emerging favourable market conditions and easy accessibility to improved sheep rearing technologies are also catching the attention of entrepreneurs. 120 number of commercial sheep farms were established in different areas of Kadavur block of Karur district with the financial assistance of Mahalir Thittam.