Samaj Pragati Sahayog
The SPS Livestock Programme for small and marginal farmers has been operational for over 15 years. SPS has so far focused on dairy farming, poultry rearing and goat rearing with more than 7500 farmers in close to 200 villages. Livestock is a valuable risk mitigating asset, especially for the rural poor, who are already disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of climate change because of their dependence on agriculture. For tribal communities, livestock has traditionally played an important role and a tribal family spends a significant amount of time (about 2 to 4 hours per day) looking after its livestock. In the Nimar region, even the poorest families have livestock, which has been traditional practice for decades.
While people have had large stocks of cattle in our area, milk yields had been poor due to poor animal health and lack of water, fodder, affordable credit and a market. Our watershed programme had already ensured water and fodder. We have also introduced quality preventive and curative veterinary care. Painstaking efforts of our team have ensured that the Indore Milk Union (IMU) has included our area in their milk collection route and has also installed a Bulk Milk Cooler of 3,000 litres capacity in village Neemkheda, which regularly collects milk from the villages and supplies to the chilling plant of IMU at Chapda. SHGs have extended credit to their members (at low rates of interest with long repayment periods) to purchase quality breeds. On the procurement side, activities focus on building up a fair and efficient milk collection and payment system. On the production side, various programmes like pregnant cow care, fodder production, regular deworming and vaccination, support in selection of good animals and improved breeding services attempt to raise productivity of farm animals.
More recently, the focus of the livestock support program more recently has been small ruminants and poultry. Poultry and goat rearing are important sources of income, especially for smallholder farming households. It is often unsuccessful because of high mortality due to poor healthcare services, unsafe inhabitation, lack of veterinary care and insufficient credit to make the initial investment. The program addresses these issues systematically by working with SHGs. The SHGs create access to institutional credit which enables the women to buy chicks and goats. A dedicated cadre of “para vets” provides feet to the programme by making available essential services in far-flung villages. Under this program, over 1 lakh birds and 17000 goats have been vaccinated across locations between 2016 and 2018. 1087 women have been trained in effective management and health-care of poultry animals and small ruminants. The animal healthcare programme is run through the federations, which leverage resources from the government departments for vaccination, medicines, animal health camps and for fodder support.