A success story " Goat farming holds promise to former teacher"
Until 3 years ago, Lokendra Bayak, who lives in Turmakhad Rural Municipality of Achham district, Nepal, was known in the village as a teacher. But now he has earned a new moniker as a goat farmer. He no longer teaches at the school.
Three years ago, Bayak quit his job as a teacher at Bishwa Secondary School and started to raise goats. As a teacher funded by locals, he drew a monthly salary of Rs. 7000. The 31-year-old now earns three times more from goat farming. He supports education of his three children. He also provides financial assistance to his fellow villagers.
When he quit his job to start farming, people remarked that he had gone crazy. But now he’s an inspiration for the entire village. “I now feel attached to farming rather than teaching,” he said.
Bayak is a member of Pragatishil Farmer’s Group, which counts 900-1300 goats belonging to 33 farmers. Since May last year, he has sold 20 goats from his farm. High Value Agriculture Project (HVAP) has provided key support in his business. The group has received Rs. 1.34 million from the HVAP for 33 pens for goats. “Earlier, we used to corral the goats to traditional sheds. They were narrow and unhealthy. Now, our goats are not infected with diseases,” he said.
Bayak, who is also a junior technical assistant, said many households that raised goats to feast during the Dashain festival had shifted to commercial goat farming. “It has become commercially viable,” he said. The Dashain festival in September-October and Chaite Dashain in April are periods when demand for goats increases. Traders from Surkhet arrive at his farm and buy live goat for Rs. 350 per kilogram. These goats are destined for Kathmandu and Pokhara.
He makes between Rs. 2 to 3 lakhs from the sales of his goats every year. He himself takes his herd of 35 goats to the nearby forest for grazing. But the forest is also home to leopard, which occasionally preys on the goats. Over the last 3 months, the farmers of the region lost 15 goats to the wild animals. Two of his goats were among the fatalities.
But he and other farmers have insured their goats against the killings from the wild animals. Aside from wildlife attacks, goat farmers have to manage fodder for their stock. “We have to make sure that they are well fed. Otherwise they will become thinner,” Bayak said.
The HVAP introduced farmers like Bayak to new tools such as insurance scheme and trained them on pests and commercial goat farming. “There’s risk in this business because goats can succumb to diseases. But this is far better than teaching,” he said. He also grows maize, rice and wheat, crops that sustains his family of five for six months. He has enrolled his eldest son, who is 13, at an English-medium school in Birendranagar, headquarters of Surkhet. “HVAP encouraged me to adopt commercial goat farming. Now on, I will dedicate my life in this business,” he said.