The story of Laxmi Harijan and her dying birds
The situation before
Laxmi lives in Benasur GP of Borigumma Block in Koraput district. Her family of seven is marginal farmers with a land holding of 2.5 acres (un-irrigated land). They barely made a living from agriculture (Annual Income of Rs 15-20,000). She was a member of a defunct SHG Gramadevi since 2005 and was not benefitting from her association with it. To add to her family’s income Laxmi was breeding country birds (Desi birds). But she was frustrated with her experience. Every year she lost a sizeable number of her birds and in 2016 alone she lost eight birds and was left with only two; she decided to give up poultry as a livelihood option. Laxmi like her other villagers accepted this as fait accompli.
How it all started changing?
It was in July 2017 that she re-joined the SHG Gramadevi, revived by Harsha Trust. She met the Prani Mitra, who was training the farmers on livestock rearing. The Prani Mitra explained the preventive steps required for the protection of poultry birds from diseases. Apart from regular vaccination, the Harsha Trust Prani Mitra encouraged the SHG members to rear more country birds with the expertise provided by the Prani Mitra, skilled & placed at the Cluster Level Federation in the village by Harsha Trust. Initially, due to fear of mortality based on her earlier experience, Laxmi had little confidence to take up Poultry as a venture again.
Her success story
With some amount of persuasion, Laxmi finally ventured into livestock rearing again in 2018. She decided to start with her existing two birds; one male and one female and not to take a loan from any source to reduce risk. She maintained the annual vaccination calendar meticulously from February, 2018 as advised by the Prani Mitra. Her birds grew quickly and in 18 months in the second half of 2019 she sold 35 birds. Her profit stood at Rs 10,500, with an investment of just Rs 574 on vaccines. In the last two years, she has experienced only 20% mortality and now has a herd size of 20 grown up birds & 17 two to three months old chicks. The stock value is around Rs.14, 100. During Covid-19 she sold ten birds for Rs 5,000. Her family is now more food secure and confident.