DHAKA, Dec 18, 2019 (BSS) – Jahura is now well equipped to deal with the realities effectively and can gradually climb out of poverty. Her experience that entailed her capacity to anticipate risks and use her resources leaves a lesson that rural poultry is elevating the food and nutrition security of the poorest households and reducing livelihood insecurity.
A visit to Jahura’s farm revealed that she was busy with her husband and two daughters there. They were collecting eggs from the farm. After collecting the eggs, her husband would go to market where he would sell those to their permanent customers.
“I am earning at least Taka 25,000-27,000 per month through rearing 150 poultry birds, 130 ducks and 11 cows,” said Jahura Khatun, a poultry farmer of Charkanai village in Patiya upazila of Chattogram district.
Recounting the bad days of her early life, she said, “I was only 17, when I got married. My husband was a rickshaw puller. It was very hard to run my five-member family as my husband was the only bread earner of my family.”
Later, Jahura took Taka 2,00,00 as loan from a local non-government organization (NGO) and bought a small land, 20 poultry birds and 15 ducks.
“It was the beginning. My husband and my sister-in-law helped me a lot run the poultry farm. But, I was scared whether I would be able to pay the monthly instalment. Fortunately, I paid every instalment in every month and repaid the loan within two years,” she said.
Jahura, wife of Rahim Mia, said her family has no land except a tin-shed house and a pond on four khata of land. Fish cultivation in their pond is one of the main sources of their livelihood, she said.
Local union parishad member Uzzal Barua said duck rearing and poultry farming have brought smile on the faces of the poor rural women as they are becoming self-reliant with significant rise in their monthly earning.
If the loan facility is available for the small scale farmers with a less interest rate then it could be beneficial for them, he said.
Like Jahura, another woman of the same area Rahela said, “My husband earned only Taka 5,000 in a month ten years ago. Now, my earning is Taka 20,000-23,000 per month through poultry farming and duck rearing.”
She said, “I got loan from the government. The loan interest is also low. For this, I took the advantage and built my poultry farm. Now there are 170 poultry birds, 100 ducks and 31 goats in my farm.”
The government is also providing vaccination to the poultry birds and other education to the small entrepreneurs, she added.
Rahela urged the concerned to reduce the price of poultry medicine.
Noted agricultural economist and former Director General of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) Dr Jahangir Alam suggested that the public and the commercial banks should be ‘client friendly’ so the small poultry farmers in the rural areas get loan at lower interest rates.
He, however, said that as the poultry production is risky and their profit margin is low, the rate of interest against their bank loan should not be more than 5 to 6 per cent.
The experiences of Jahura, Rahela and many others show poultry and fish farming can be potent tools for the improvement of poor because it requires hardly any infrastructure set-up. Besides, income generation and poverty reduction, rural poultry can provide better nutrition in the form of valuable animal protein.
Since time immemorial and even today poultry provides an excellent potential of rural empowerment.