Buck sale – a viable livelihood opportunity for youth in rural areas
Sandeep Chavan is a resident of village Taliye in the Wathar Taluka of Satara district in Maharashtra. His father is a retired agricultural officer, who was posted at the block development office in Ahmednagar district. His mother is a housewife. Sandeep’s family owns a pucca house and 8 acres of land of which only three acres are marginally fertile and cultivable. The cultivable land is irrigated by lifting water from a percolation tank, situated 1.2 kms away from his field. Major crops grown include maize, wheat, gram and soyabean.
Sandeep quit studies after passing 12th standard as he had no inclination to study further. He went to Mumbai where he got employed with a transport company. During his stay in Mumbai he came across an acquaintance who sold goat bucks during the Eid festival. Sandeep was taken by surprise to realize the market demand for bucks and the income his friend earned through their sale. Sandeep was deeply inspired to venture into the buck-rearing activity. “As a child I have grown up tending goats which were reared at home and perhaps therefore I was more inclined to take up this activity as a full-time occupation”, shares Sandeep.
Sandeep initiated this activity in 2004. It involved purchasing four to six month old bucks from goat markets in Ajmer, Alwar and Dausa in Rajasthan; rearing them for nine to ten months followed by selling them during the Eid festival in Mumbai. He constructed a 46 by 24 feet goat shed, made of tin sheets, on his uncultivable land. Shed construction cost approximately one lakh rupees. He collected information on various goat breeds from Rajasthan and selected five suitable breeds - Totapuri, Jamnapari, Sirohi, Battisa and Nagphani. These breeds are native to drought prone districts of Rajasthan like Alwar, Dausa, Nagaur and Ajmer and, are therefore, sturdy and can survive under drought conditions at minimal rearing cost. The Jamnapari breed, which is native to Uttar Pradesh is equally sturdy.
The bucks are primarily stall fed. After the monsoons, crop residues of maize, chick-pea and sorghum are enough to meet fodder requirements. However, during summer months a severe shortage of fodder is experienced in this area. This is a critical period requiring increased nutrition for the bucks to enable weight gain as the Eid festival approaches.
While exploring alternative feeding options, Sandeep learnt about the Central Research Station of BAIF in Urulikanchan, which supplies agriculture inputs, including fodder seeds. He immediately contacted the Research Station and requested for technical support, to ensure a regular supply of green fodder for the bucks. He received information on the cultivation of fodder crops and purchased seed material of lucerne, stylo, barseem (Egyptian clover), oat, guinea grass, subabul, and sesbanea. He initiated fodder plantation on his land using sprinkler-irrigation sourcing water from an open well near the percolation tank. Most of the fodder species were perennial and could provide a regular supply of green fodder all the year round. The excess fodder is dried and chopped for use during the lean period.
The feed for each buck comprises 200-300 gm of concentrate and 2.5 to 3 kg green fodder per day. The concentrate feed comprises grains which are purchased from the market. Sandeep gives special attention to the health of bucks and ensures timely vaccination as per a vaccination schedule provided by the Urulikanchan centre. Sandeep shares that pneumonia is a common disease among goats in addition to ET, HS and PPRi . “I understand the annual vaccination schedule and avail support from the local government dispensary located in our village”, shares Sandeep. He manages the entire activity with help from his wife and labour hired from outside. Every year, Sandeep personally visits goat markets in the rural areas of Rajasthan, for sourcing healthy bucks. The Sirohi breed is sourced from Ajmer and Ramsar while for Totapuri and Nagphani, Alwar and Dausa districts are ideal.
Sandeep shares that buck rearing is almost a perennial activity except for the months of November-December by when the bucks are sold. Repair of the goat sheds is undertaken in these two lean months. According to Sandeep there is not much competition in the market and there are very few people practicing this activity. However, the challenge to receive a good market price is dependent on the mortality of bucks in addition to their regular supply from Rajasthan. Sandeep shared that there is a greater demand of bucks from Northern states like Delhi, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh owing to which dealers from these states pay higher prices for the bucks unlike the dealers from other states. Additionally, live goats from Rajasthan are also exported to countries in the Middle East, and goat rearers receive better prices on these deals.
Sandeep admits that this work is not easy as it involves hardship and perseverance to increase returns. Ensuring a regular supply of green fodder is a key priority. He shares that the average price of the buck does not remain constant except during Eid. Colour and size are important determinants of price. According to Sandeep, buyers prefer white bucks with a weight between 60-70 kgs. Middle class families prefer to buy Sirohi bucks while Nagphani and Totapuri breeds are in demand by richer families.
Sandeep feels that this could be a potential income generation activity for unemployed youth. The total expenses borne by Sandeep in rearing a batch of 60 bucks is approximately Rs. 400,000. This includes purchasing the bucks for Rs. 180,000 at the rate of Rs. 3,000 for each buck. This is inclusive of the transport charges to and from the above mentioned districts. Rs. 2,000 of feed per buck costs Rs. 120,000, labour charges for three persons comes to Rs. 90,000 for 300 days and health and vaccination costs are approximately Rs. 10,000 for each batch. Sandeep earned Rs. 660,000 during 2008-09, on the sale of 12-14 month old bucks, each weighing approximately 55-60 kg sold at the rate of Rs 10,000-13,000 (for Rs. 200-225 per kg of live weight). Sandeep also earns from the sale of manure, which accounts for eight tractor trolleys annually, each of which is sold for Rs.1800/-. This makes his total earnings to be Rs. 674,000/- with a net profit of Rs. 274,400/-.
Recently Sandeep has expanded his enterprise to include the supply of goats of the Sirohi and Totapuri breed to interested buyers. The demand for these breeds is higher as they are sturdy, easily acclimatize to local conditions and gain weight even with minimal feeding.
i Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) also known as goat plague, is caused by a virus closely related to the rinderpest virus, canine distemper virus, and the human measles virus. Morbidity up to 100 % and mortality rates between 20 and 90 % are common, except in endemic areas or when mild disease occurs.
Haemorrhagic Septicemia (HS) is a highly fatal bacterial disease seen mainly in cattle and water buffalo. In susceptible animals, the clinical signs often progress rapidly from dullness and fever to death within hours.
Enterotoxemia (ET) also known as overeating or pulpy kidney disease is a condition caused by the absorption of a large amount of toxins from the intestines. The toxins cause enterocolitis (inflammation of the intestine), increase the permeability of the blood vessels, and become absorbed in the blood. They circulate in the bloodstream, promoting swelling in the lungs and kidneys, giving the condition the name pulpy kidney disease. Young animals are most susceptible. Sudden and high mortality rates are concentrated in lambs and kids.
Contributed by - Country Team India