‘A Hyderabad-developed poultry breed has brought about a sea change in the lives of farmers in Mon district of Nagaland.
‘Reduced mortality rates of Vanaraja-bred birds, developed by the project directorate on poultry, Hyderabad, and increased income, has resulted in farmers asking for more supplies of the breed from the Nairobi-headquartered International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) which promoted the breed.
‘Rameshwar Deka, scientific officer ILRI and head of its Northeast centre said, “Looking at the success rate and profit earned from the Vanaraja birds, many more farmers are approaching the ILRI. Drawing encouragement from the ILRI’s promotion of a flock of 10 birds, some farmers in the villages have started rearing much bigger flocks with their own investment on a commercial basis.” The project was promoted in Lompongsheanghah and Longwa villages of Mon district under the World Bank-funded national agricultural innovation project initiative, led by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) under the project Livelihood improvement and empowerment of rural poor through sustainable farming systems in Northeast India.
‘Deka said prior to their intervention, they had found the poultry production system in the these villages traditional and poorly remunerative. “We had to look for dual purpose cross-bred birds, which can thrive well under poor feeding and management condition and can grow faster than indigenous birds, to improve the livelihood of the poor in the project villages. Finally, the Vanaraja bird was identified, since it had multiple colours, looked like indigenous birds and fetched better price in the market,” he said.
‘Before taking any decision, the community members were appraised about different aspects of Vanaraja bird production and marketing and their strength and weakness.
‘Deka said among the self-help groups interested in poultry production, the best poultry producers (having interest, skill and resources to rear birds) within a group were identified as first line beneficiaries, who would initially receive assistance from ILRI. The groups were informed that the remaining members would receive assistance after successful rearing of the birds by first line beneficiaries and the cycle would be rotated from their own investment.
‘This was done in order to build peer pressure within the group for self-sustenance of the activity and to utilise the best resourceful persons from the groups at the initial stage. . . .’
The Vanaraja variety, considered to be the best poultry breed, was studied and improved upon by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research centre in Hyderabad to boost rural poultry production. Now its being distributed for on-farm testing.
Read the whole article at the Telegraph (Calcutta): Vanaraja birds bring relief to Mon farmers, 18 Jul 2011.