Poultry push

A chicken raising project in 57 villages of Goalpara and Khowang districts is helping women from poor families get ahead

Raising chickens had helped create a brighter future for Dharmalata Rabha, her husband and two children, residents of Siluk Bakhrapara village in Assam’s Goalpara district.“I raised five batches of broilers and earned 43,000 in a year,” says Ms Rabha.

Ms Rabha is the beneficiary of the poultry rearing project, one of the many Tata Trusts initiatives in Assam to introduce new income streams for less than privileged households. The chicken business, small though it may be, has been a boon for the Rabhas, a landless couple who worked previously as daily wage labourers.

Ms Rabha started chicken farming in 2016, a year after the Trusts started the three-year poultry project. The initiative is being implemented by the National Small-holder Poultry Development Trust in 57 villages in two areas, Dudhnoi in Goalpara district and Khowang in Dibrugarh district.

In Assam, the Trusts have supported the initiative by connecting women poultry farmers to the market and by promoting producer collectives. The two producer companies set up at Dudhnoi and Khowang have about 1,000 members, each of whom earn at least 25,000-30,000 a year. The producer companies also generate employment for local youth.

Ms Rabha, a member of the Dudhnoi Women Poultry Producer Company, is counting her chickens now that they have hatched. “Now I can stay at home and look after my family. I’m living a better life.”