One Good Goat Makes All the Difference
The village of Pokharichaur in Nepal is 7,200 feet above sea level, and for the people there, raising goats is a traditional source of income. Last year in nearby Tasarpu, a journalist from Kathmandu came to report on the Nepal Food for People (FFP) program. During his stay he paid a visit to the surrounding villages and noticed the poor quality of the goat herds. On his return, he met with the FFP team at Premsagar Foundation Nepal, a local affiliate of TPRF, and suggested that isolation in Pokharichaur and other villages was causing the herds to weaken through inbreeding, and that to invigorate the herds and boost the local economy they might provide high-breed bucks to mate with the local does.
At the same time, a partnership between the Poverty Alleviation Fund, an initiative of the Nepalese Government, and an NGO called SAMAGRA was helping villagers increase their income by expanding their herds. TPRF and Premsagar joined forces with them and funded the purchase of two high-breed bucks. One was donated to Pokharichaur and the other to Salle village. One year later, in June this year, the FFP team visited Pokharichaur to check the result.
"When we climbed the hill above FFP and reached the village," says Dornath Neupane, general secretary of Premsagar Foundation Nepal, "we could see the healthy, long-eared kids dancing and jumping on the ground in front of the houses."
In the past year, 17 does in Pokharichaur have given birth to a total of 38 healthy offspring. Seven have already been sold, including four young bucks sold to other villages to improve their stock.
"These goats are our money tree", says Maili Tamang, who keeps 11 goats. "After the high-breed buck was brought to our village, our kids have been bigger and healthier, and we can now sell them at a very good price compared to what they sold for earlier. The buyers come to our homes looking for them."
She says she has already earned Rs.15,000 (about US$168) from the sale of kids this year.
“Newborn goats used to be small, thin, and dwarfish, weighing only a pound or so at birth,” says social worker and goat owner Saili Tamang, “and most were single births. Now they're born weighing about five and a half pounds, and there are mostly two tall, healthy kids from each goat."
Saili Tamang's goat gave birth to two kids. After three months, the young buck was sold to another village for Rs.9000 (US$100) to improve its stock.
"I was overwhelmed," she says. "Before, even for a six-month-old buck we used to get only Rs.2000 (US$22.22). Not only did I earn so much more, but I was also able to provide a seed buck to another village. A single high-breed buck made such a tremendous difference."