How a Cattle Farmer scaled up his animal husbandry practice in rural Gujarat

How a Cattle Farmer scaled up his animal husbandry practice in rural Gujarat

Mr Kamlesh Rabari (27 Years) from Umraya in rural Gujarat who hails from cattle breeder family, completed matriculation and vocational training in ITI to get into a job in nearby plants and companies. Dissatisfied and disheartened by the kind of jobs at hand, He decided to help his grandfather with cattle rearing at home. He started taking interest to understand & get into the animal husbandry practices. The family owns 2 bighas of land to sow grain for family use and cattle fodder, however the fodder is insufficient for their cattle.

Questera Foundation started implementing a CSR Program in May 2021 which revolves broadly around three pillars and Livelihood (Project Samanvay) that covers activities on agriculture and animal husbandry. We collaborated with National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to train and support the cattle breeders in the village. The approach was to train the trainer and use their example to mobilise more cattle rearers of the village. Kamlesh showed interest but the decision was not easy for him as he had never travelled beyond Vadodara & NDDB’s Animal Entrepreneurship program is a 12-days residential program in Anand. We were able to counsel him and his family to undergo the training.

The training course covered key areas such as; animal breeding, cattle shed/housing, animal nutrition, Animal Diseases, Animal Management, Dairy Farm Business, Animal Management & integration in dairy farming along with the exposure visit to different sites for the practical experience.

Picture 1 and 2: Kamlesh attending training & receiving training certificate from NDDB official

Kamlesh completed the training diligently and this cemented his decision to join his forefather’s occupation. He had convinced his family to take up the occupation more seriously and scientifically and decided to increase the herd as they added total 15 animals (1 buffalo and 14 Cows of different breeds) post the training and converted their cattle shed into the professional dairy farm with more facilities.

Picture 3 & 4 Current condition of Kamlesh’s cattle shed

He summarizes his learning from the course as follows:

“There was no planning or management in traditional practice. During the training I got to know about importance of good feed, overall management and very importantly fertility management. Understood how animal rearing could be beneficial by improving milk quality and reducing the gap in two successive pregnancies.”

Kamlesh’s family used to feed green & dry fodder to their animals along with water once or twice in a day but he learnt that like humans, balanced food/diet is very important for animals too and just fodder will not help in increasing fat content and yield of the milk. He included mineral mixture and solid feed along with green and dry fodder. He started following the thumb rule for feed taught during the training and gradually experienced the result i.e. the yield of cow was 6 litres per day but after altering the practice, the yield became 10 litres per day.

Along with alteration in feeding practices, he started implementing measures to reduce the reproductive cycle for cows and buffalo. Traditionally, they used to wait for few months and sometimes a year after one delivery of cow or buffalo so the herd could not increase and also milking days could not be increased. He also learnt about care and feed before and after delivery of the animal which keeps it healthy and does not attract any illness.

He said ‘After getting training, we note the date of delivery and as taught, call the veterinarian for artificial insemination (AI) exactly after three months of the delivery. By following this, in six months after the training I am able to understand the fundamental aspects and measures to run a dairy farm.Currently, he has total 20 animals (18 cows, 2 buffalos), sells 25 litres of milk every day as against 14 litres earlier in own and nearby villages.

Kamlesh has been overwhelmed with the results he is getting in short time and he joined our team to spread his learnings into the wider audience of the village. He was motivated to take weekly training sessions with women cattle farmers and shared information on different topics from his training and his experience of altered practices.

Pics 5 & 6: Kamlesh taking the session and participants observing his training certificate

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