Tribal families in Odisha’s remote Kandhamal district have turned poultry rearing into a multi-million rupees business by taking up broiler farming as a commercial activity, thanks to the state government for motivating them.
Poultry rearing is an integral part of most of the tribal families and indigenous poultry breeds are generally reared by them for their livelihood. They rear small numbers of poultry and use them when there is an urgent need of money.
They had however never taken poultry farming as commercial activities or on a large scale earlier.
The state government launched a pilot project in Baliguda sub-division of the district Kandhamal and motivated the tribal families to take up commercial poultry so that it ensured livelihood to them in the absence of other opportunities.
As part of the project, self-help groups were formed and the local veterinary staff of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department provided them technical assistance and training.
The government also formed Kandhamal Poultry Development Corporation Limited. KPDCL, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) company registered under the Companies Act to implement the project.
While 26 percent shareholding of the project is held by the State government, 49 percent by the self-help group members and 25 percent by the poultry integrator.
The local Integrated Tribal Development Agency, a government institution which ensures delivery of public goods and services to people in scheduled areas has been regularly monitoring the progress.
Under the project, ITDA constructed poultry sheds, each costing about Rs.2.5 lakhs for the SHG groups.
It also provided facilities like water, electricity, infrastructure supports such as transportation and conveyance and office space for staffs, financial support for imparting training to self-help group members, staff of the KPDCL and administrative expenses of staff wages.
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All the selected self-help group members and individual farmers have been given one-day exposure in the established poultry farm.
ITDA also facilitated three days’ training for the self-help group members on scientific poultry farming by the government veterinary officers.
KPDCL has engaged a private poultry integrator, Bhairabi Agro, to facilitate poultry activities.
The support of the private poultry integrator was vital to ensure both input supply and marketing linkage. The self-help groups have been provided with poultry sheds for rearing of broiler birds.
The integrator ensures smooth availability of basic inputs like day-old broiler chicks, poultry feed, medicine and vaccines to the broiler farms.
The integrator also provides technical support along with product quality control and management of broiler farms located at different self-help group sites.
Poultry shed of 1,200 square feet has been constructed and 1,200 birds per batch are kept in the broiler house in all in all out system. Each self-help group now rears 1,200 birds per batch and they receive rearing cost for each batch after 45 days of rearing.
Currently, 24 farms are operational and broiler birds weighing 5,53,300 kg have been marketed successfully. The groups have reared a total 243 batches (average 10 batches/ group) till date and earned Rs. 22.24 lakhs towards rearing cost.
Each member of group earns an income of around Rs. 1000 per month. Though the income is less per member, the number of hours required to attend the tasks at the unit is also very less.
The success of the project is evident from the fact that the self-help groups located near these units have demanded more such units so that the benefit could percolate to more number of tribal families.
Additional subsidy in Tribal Area Sub-Plan (TSP) area for poultry ventures along with provisioning of land for setting up of feed plant, breeder farm will be provided by the government to the private players to take up integration. Reducing input cost would also attract investment.
The KPDCL is planning to have its own hatchery, breeding farm and feed mill to ensure regularity in input supply. It is also exploring for opening self-managed retail points at different block/ panchayat headquarters for sale of fresh chicken.
Similarly the present operation of KPDCL to be scaled up to 200 units, a half of them with the support from ITDA (SCA to TSP) and the balance from Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme in the first phase.
Considering its success, it will be scaled up in subsequent years.
These 200 units to be linked up with bankable schemes. Rearing of dual purpose poultry like Kalinga Brown/ Vanaraj/ Rainbow Rooster will be taken on pilot basis, as it would reduce the feed cost and provide nutritional support to tribal families.
Locally available cheaper raw material will be used in the construction of the poultry sheds under schemes like MGNREGA to reduce the cost of construction of sheds.
New units will be established where basic facilities like water, electricity, and communication are available.
The district administration has been told to earmark suitable patches of land free of cost/ nominal rate for breeders/ layer units and feed plant and suggest the Animal Husbandry Department to move the Revenue and Disaster Management Department to consider the proposal.
*Sethi is commissioner-cum-secretary, at the Fisheries and animal resources department, Government of Odisha. Views expressed are personal.
(The writer is a senior IAS officer. He works as Special Relief Commissioner, Managing Director Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), and Secretary, Rural Development Department, Government of Odisha. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Views expressed are personal.)