Friday, October 24, 2014

Unlocking dairy market for landless people

During my last field trip in Bihar, I learned more about how landless people can make a living in rural India. Landless people often own small ruminants (goat and sheep) that they take grazing on field borders and marginal areas. These animals are the sold for meat and bring income to landless families.
a goat, not just making use of field borders
Next to small ruminants, landless people often "lease" dry dairy cows (cows that don't give milk yet). Rich farmers do not make any benefit from a dry dairy cow, so feeding in a zero grazing unit is just costly. They therefore give the cows to landless people to be grazed on marginal areas with the small ruminants. If something happens to the animal during the lease time, the owner bears the risk.

When the cow starts giving milk, then a value for the animal is fixed. The owner pays half of the value to the landless person, or if the landless person can pay half of the animal, then keep it and start making benefits from the milk.

However landless people never have money to pay half a cow, it is always the owner of the cow who gets it back and starts making good money from milk. Would a landless person get access to a dairy cow and be able to sell the milk, then it could be a sustainable pathway out of poverty.
Centre for Promoting Sustainable Livelihood (CPSL) and their RojiRoti program has decided to end this vicious cycle by offering fair micro credits to landless women to keep a dairy cow through paying half of the value to the owner.

It is not commercial micro credit : CPSL works on organizing women around rotating saving and credit organisation allowing landless people to get short term credits for health or immediate needs from each other.

An interesting scheme that seems to unlock poverty traps where landless people are often locked in.

Find out more about this here.

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