Livestock are valuable assets of the rural poor and are critical in supporting their livelihoods particularly during unfavorable times. Mr. Vijayan Menothuparambil of Chirakkakode village of Kerala is a small and traditional dairy farmer for the last twenty years. He possesses about 2 acre of land which includes his house and cattle shed. He was struggling to fulfill the needs of his family members including the education of his children as he was getting only Rs. 2000/- per month as an income from traditional rearing of cows. This income was also not regular, as cows were not in milk throughout the year. Therefore, for the maintenance for his family, he was supplementing income by working as labor, as and when the work was available.
One day, he came in contact with the Scientists of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), Mannuthy and was advised to attend a training program on dairy farming. He subsequently attended a one-day training program in 1999 organised by KAU under the AICRP on Progeny Testing of Crossbred Bulls under Field Conditions being undertaken by Project Directorate on Cattle (ICAR), Meerut (UP).
After joining the Field Progeny Testing (FPT) program and with the support of high quality semen and other facilities provided by the project centre at Chirakkakode, he started the cattle rearing in scientific way.
Before joining the project, the production of his cows was very poor as he was getting only 4-5 liter of milk/cow/day and his expenditure was more on animal health. He is now getting 10-12 liter of milk per cow/day. He is selling about 24 liter milk per day and keeping milk of one cow for family consumption. Besides increased milk yield, he is also benefitted by the project in getting scientific guidance on feeding and management of cows, receipt of good quality semen along with door-step AI facility, preventive health care, first aid for his animals and feed supplements.
Now, Mr. Vijayan maintains five adult cows and their followers in his herd and ensures that at least three cows are in milk through out the year. Additional income has helped him to convert a temporary shed in to a permanent tiled roof house with sufficient space for each animal. His family is also enjoying a good socio-economic status in the village and they are all leading a comfortable life.
His whole family feels indebted to FPT project unit at Kerala for bringing happiness and change in their life. Mr Vijayan has become a live example and role model for a number of unemployed youths. Many farmers like Mr. Vijayan in Mannuthy district are enjoying benefits of dairy farming on scientific lines under FPT project of Project Directorate on Cattle.
(Source: ICAR- Project Directorate on Cattle)