Like agriculture, small scale livestock rearing is an important livelihood activity in the region. Most households keep cattle, goats or chickens for milk, manure, eggs or meat. However, milk yields for cattle in the region are very low, for a variety of reasons. First of all, the indigenous breeds of cattle are inherently lower milk yielding than many hybrid varieties. Secondly, access to adequate nutritious fodder to feed the cattle is a constraint for many farmers, especially in the winter months. Thirdly, the farmers are often not well informed and educated on animal health and rearing practices.
To tackle these issues, our activities address the problem of access to nutritious fodder and health of livestock. Chirag provides support to a cattle feed federation which was set up in 2009. Its goal is to provide nutritious and wholesome cattle feed for the animals using locally available grains such as soy-bean, oats, finger millet and barley. The federation has 14 members who are engaged in the production and marketing of the feed. Additionally, Chirag also helped start up a federation that manufactures and markets Ayurvedic medicine for cattle. Finally, Chirag also supports paravets in the region who not only offer AI (artificial insemination) services in the region but also look after the animal health.