Dare to dream: Sunita’s journey from a homemaker to a successful goat rearer

Dare to dream: Sunita’s journey from a homemaker to a successful goat rearer

Story by : WHH with inputs from IIRD
Written on : 28th August, 2020

Until the end of 2018, Sunita a resident of Porgaon village of Paithan block in Aurangabad village, led a regular life of a homemaker.  Porgaon is a small village on a dryland and drought prone area with a population of 1325. Sunita has been living her since many decades with her family of five. It was only in December 2018 when Sunita met Anjali – a course coordinator from IIRD-Green College (GC), when she came across the many possibilities of learning new skills and start her our enterprise. “Two years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that I could own a successful goat farm. And it feels good to be an inspiration to others in the village”, says 32-year old Sunita Madhukar Nil.

The journey

IIRD Green College is located 13 kms from Sunita’s village, Porgaon. With an education only till 9th standard and married off at an early age, Sunita spent her time mostly doing household chores. During one of the youth meetings organised in her village when she met Anjali – a course coordinator of IIRD-GC, she developed interest in getting trained on animal husbandry and start her own business. She joined a 3-week training on goat rearing management and is the first woman to join the GC trainings from her village.

“During the course, I learnt about management of goat rearing and feeding, goat shed, the variety of goats, diseases and vaccinations, business planning and marketing,” shares Sunita. And one month after completion of the course, Sunita purchased two goats and started her business. In February 2019, she even received a seed capital of INR20,000/- from IIRD’s Bhumi Organic Farmers club of Porgaon. By the end of the March 2019, Sunita received comprehensive knowledge and know-hows of business planning, marketing policy and monitoring. With the support received from IIRD, she started her small-scale goat farming business unit. 

Considering their zeal and enthusiasm, in April 2019, Sunita was selected by the GC for the Fast Track programme to accelerate her business. She participated in a 5-day Fast Track innovation camp where she gave concrete shape to her dreams of expanding his business and prepared a business model canvas. During her journey, she was constantly supported and guided by her mentors – Kiran Kakade and Anjali Kulkarni of IIRD.  Sunita also reached out to the local kisan vikas kendra (KVK) and veterinary officials to plan her business better. Her family completely supported her with the business. 

The goatery business

Based on the learnings received from the Green College and KVK, Aurangabad, Sunita designed and developed a goat farm with 50 goats.  She also consulted the college and village level farmers group to identify the best local breed of goats for her farm. With inputs from all the stakeholders, she decided to purchase Osmanabadi – a local breed, which are sturdier and more suited to local conditions than breeds such as Sirohi, Sangamneri, and Bor from other states.

Sunita invested a start-up capital of INR50,000/-. She also received 11 goats under the ‘Navinya Purna Yojna, of the Veterinary Department, Govt. of Maharashtra. It is special scheme for women, tribal and minority households. Currently, Sunita’s goatery has 22 goats. Besides giving them mineral supplements and timely vaccinations, Sunita is also aware of the local market conditions. During the last festival of Bakri Id, she was successful in selling 7 male goats earning an income of INR70,000/-. Goat rearing business provides good profit to the individual within a short duration. It is especially profitable in drought prone areas like Marathwada region and rain-fed farming areas.

Sunita, now a successful goat rearer excitedly shares, “Even landless households can start this type of a business. Goat is known as the cow of poor people. It gives us milk, manure and money”. Sunita is a model in the village to youth and women farmers. Following her training with the Green College and starting her own business, Sunita is supporting the other women in her village and has a women’s group of small, marginal and trained farmers. Besides the goat farm, Sunita is also cultivating organic leafy vegetables, millets, wheat, pulses and fodder for the goats in the 5 acres of seasonally irrigatable land owned by her family. She also supports the women group in organizing their respective farms and get the organic certification under the PGS-India system.

In total, Welthungerhilfe supported IIRD-Green College has imparted goat rearing trainings to 460 youths from the district during 2019-2020. Additionally, 130 PGS group have been formed with organic certificate from PGS-India which has benefited 780 organic farmer trainees from IIRD-GC in the region.