Animal Health Camps benefit livestock farmers with new knowledge on treatment and government supportNEWS
By GV News Desk
3 May 2023
Animal Health Camps organised by Gram Vikas in Odisha’s Balangir district have been helping livestock farmers save money, improve knowledge of good practices in rearing, and learn about supportive government schemes.
Gram Vikas held the camps in 20 villages as part of the Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP) supported by HDFC Parivartan. The aim is to address the problems livestock and cattle owners face to make livestock rearing a reliable coping mechanism against financial stress.
Over 757 farmer households with cows and goats have benefitted from the camps, including vaccination for 2772 animals against Foot-and-mouth disease and Goat Pox.
The Village Development Committee members and women’s self-help groups mobilised the residents to attend the camp. Veterinary doctors gave them helpful information on health, nutrition, breeding, feeding, and cattle and livestock management.
Dr Aniruddha Biswal, the Additional District Veterinary Officer of Balangir district, participated in the camps with his team, including Dr Alok Kumar Nayak, Additional Veterinary Assistant Surgeon, and Dr S Satapathy, Balangir Veterinary Officer.
Dr Biswal distributed deworming tablets free of cost. He explained the frequency of administering the pills, the dosage, and preventive measures to increase the immunity of the animals and aid in infection control. Residents got their cattle and livestock vaccinated and treated for common complaints like worm and tick infestation, anaemia, and malnutrition.
Pushpanjali Putel, 36, of Pratappur village, who owns four goats and two buffaloes, spent ₹500-₹600 each time she took her animals to the veterinary hospital four kilometres away. Now she feels she can increase her herd of goats, “After attending the camp, I am better informed of the preventive steps to keep the animals in good health.”
While encouraging farmers to rear cows, Dr Biswal spoke about the many benefits of owning livestock, “When you raise cows and buffaloes, children and adults get enough milk, curd and ghee to consume regularly. Cattle contribute to a farmer’s income in many ways, such as cow dung which can increase soil fertility.”
Farmers learned about treating cow urine as a disinfectant for paddy and vegetables at the camps and turning cow dung into vermicompost to improve soil fertility.
The doctor advised farmers to take benefit of the MGNREGS for constructing cowsheds and goat sheds and encouraged them to provide comfortable accommodations for their animals with proper sanitation, hygiene and cleanliness.
Dulana Bariha, 37, of Barpudgia village, owns 25 goats that she rears to help her in times of distress. At the camp, she learnt government schemes that would benefit livestock and cattle rearers. Dulana explains, “I can apply online by filling out a simple form on the website of the Animal Husbandry Department. After that, I will get the receipt attested from the Veterinary Assistant Surgeon and the Livestock Inspector from the Balangir block to avail the entitlements for rearers.”
Brundabati Merli, an ASHA worker from Pratappur village and owner of eight goats, says that the residents in her village have already held a meeting after the camp’s completion. “We have identified the reason for the high livestock mortality in our area – how we have been rearing the animals. So, all of us in the village want a common goat shed and will demand funds from the Sarpanch.”
Most families living in remote villages in the Balangir district suffer sudden losses due to the high risk involved in livestock rearing. Primarily engaged in agriculture farming, with small and marginal landholdings, livestock rearing remains one of the significant livelihood income sources for the families in these villages. Depending on the stock size, families earn an additional income of up to ₹15,000-₹20,000 from livestock rearing.
The camps have especially benefited women, for whom livestock rearing is a preferred livelihood option as it requires less investment. Goats do not require large spaces, can graze freely in nearby forests, are always in demand, can be quickly sold, and fetch a reasonable price during an emergency. The women use the earnings from goat rearing to support their children’s education or any sudden expenses incurred during weddings, festivals, or health emergencies. It also helps the women establish their identity as farmers.
The HRDP, which began in January 2022, aims to reach 18000 individuals in 4660 households across the district. The ongoing interventions span the areas of natural resource management, skill development, livelihood enhancement of the farmers, education, health and sanitation.
Chandrika Patnaik, Pravat Ranjan Jena, Jyostnamayee Padhan, and Krishna Chandra Dikshit contributed to the reporting.
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