This is the second story in February that illustrates how Heifer's work with small-scale farmers can have a much broader impact. Read more about how our farmers really are changing the face of industries around the world as we continue to celebrate the International Year of Family Farming.
FATTEPUR, Nepal—Dhan Kumari Airi is in her groove. She and the other 87 members of the New Creative Social Entrepreneurs Women’s Cooperative Limited are hosting their third goat bazaar since the cooperative formed in 2008, selling directly to buyers.
These farmers are already having great success cross-breeding local Khari goats with a larger Indian breed. Heifer promotes the crossbreeds that have the resilience and adaptability of local breeds and the improved productivity of the exotic ones.
Airi’s experience shows the model works. Her first two goats had two births a year, triplets every time. She raised 12 kids from those first two.
“Even with just two goats, you can get really impressive outcomes just by taking care with nutrition, breeding and management,” Airi said. “We’re not doing anything drastic, we’re just making small improvements that add up.”
Her goats continue to be so healthy and productive that the ones she raises are pre-booked for sale. She makes about $1,047 a year.
“I’ve been blessed with good goats and the magic touch for raising them,” Airi said. She credits use of a variety of improved fodder, mineral blocks and regular de-worming treatments with much of her success. She gives the goats water three times a day in the summer and twice a day in winter. She heats up the water on the stove for them in winter so it’s not cold, which can make them sick.
The New Creative cooperative has sold 1,500 goats in three bazaars. “Before, the traders did not give us a per-kilo price or even weigh them, just gave them a set amount for each goat by eye, so we never knew if we were getting a fair price,” Airi said.
Now farmers learn not accept those deals and to request that the goats be weighed and the per-kilo price be stated up front.
On this day, they’re selling 75 to a longtime Heifer partner, the Multiple Service Center. Prabhat Thakuri, MSC executive director, says that he wants to buy the goats to start new projects with quality animals.
“These goats are genetically superior and have high productivity,” Thakuri said. “They are the ideal placement animals for our new project communities. Also, we established and supported these [women’s] groups, and we want to benefit them economically by becoming a consumer and client for them.”
Airi plans to buy more land and increase her production with 30 to 35 nanny goats for a yearly income of about $5,235 a year. Her husband is working in Malaysia as a laborer, but when he returns she plans to keep him by her side.
“I believe having his help in expanding our family goat farm will be enough income for the family to live well,” she said.
This story originally appeared in the Holiday 2013 edition of World Ark magazine. Read the whole story to get a better perspective on how Heifer's program in Nepal is truly empowering women to change the face of the goat industry there.