In 2015 we conducted extensive research into the viability of our third enterprise, Goateries. Goats are greatly valued by the poor in West Bengal and fetch high prices at market. We have designed a model that we believe will allow farmers to become self-sufficient after a period of 27 months when they will own at least five goats of their own to breed from. In January 2016, we launched a pilot programme working with 20 families/home farmers in our current location of Babnan, a predominantly Muslim area where the desire to own goats is high.
How the programme works
Each family is supplied with two female goats, on loan from Shivia. A male goat is shared between a number of families locally. After seven months each doe produces one kid - the family is able to keep one and Shivia takes the second kid, which will be loaned to a new family. Over the next 18 months the two does will produce four kids each, so our family has bred ten goats in total, five to keep to continue the goat farming enterprise and five for Shivia to loan to new families. At that point Shivia takes back the original female and male goats that were on loan, for sale at market. Our farming family is ready to carry on without our help.
As well as being financially self-sustaining, this model also provides a clear exit strategy for Shivia, promoting enterprise and discouraging dependency.