Livestock entrepreneurship by Twenty20 – Self-employment with a difference
The options are lucrative, sustainable and environmentally aligned.
‘Self-employment’ is the buzzword today. Governments, lending institutions, skilling agencies are all shouting themselves hoarse promising to make you self-employed. However, in most cases their support seldom extends much beyond the financial resources required to get things off the ground and more often than not these initiatives end up half-baked, sputtering to a halt midway or even not getting off the ground. Not only are the loanees left saddled with a crippling financial burden but also staring at a future that is bleak, often with not many recourses to resort to. It is here that ‘livestock entrepreneurship’ by Twenty20 makes a difference. Not only can it be availed by every resident of the village but it is also, by its very nature, aligned to the environmental mandate of our ecologically fragile state.
The ‘Ksheera’ (meaning ‘milk’) Project was conceived a little over a year ago and work was on full swing including procurement of Holstein Friesian cattle which are the world’s highest production dairy animals. These black and white cows are the result of relentless efforts by Dutch and German breeders to make milch cows that provide an abundance of milk while making use of bountiful grass in the region. The HF cows were procured from leading breeders from across the country and housed in a farm under the direct supervision of veterinary and livestock experts with Twenty20. Not only are they insured but also given vaccinations and milk quality and quantities checked. Distribution of these HF cows has already begun with every selected family getting two each. Under the first phase Twenty20 will be giving out 500 of these high yielding cows. On the marketing front, tie-ups with local dairy suppliers are already in place.
‘Aadu Gramam’ and ‘Kozhi Gramam’ – the goat and hen projects respectively – were also started soon after Twenty20 was launched in 2013 with the intent to create income-generating activities for the economically backward families. All the 3,000 goats that were given under Aadu Gramam are of the Malabari variety known for their size, immunity and milk production. Those who had registered with the Kozhi Gramam were given BV380 breed of hens which begin laying eggs within six months of hatching – up to 320 eggs every year. Each of the families was given 30 hens with a hen coop each. The sustainability of these initiatives is also ensured with a buy-back arrangement by the food security market – the first of its kind in India – that was also set up by Twenty20 in Kizhakkambalam village.
“We are very happy to see our initiatives showing encouraging results in terms of profitability,” said Sabu Jacob, chief coordinator of Twenty20 and managing director of Kitex Garments. “As we approach our eponymous year of activities, it is important that everything we have started get on the sustainability mode as well.”
A highly qualified and experienced team of veterinarians, breeders and farmers work with Twenty20 to provide professional support and technical assistance to each of these beneficiaries. While telephonic assistance is available at any time of the day, in the anvil is a helpline exclusive for livestock entrepreneurs.