Farming is full of uncertainty, agriculture requires rain, pastoralists require protection from illness, and farmers have to stay healthy enough to manage all of the above.
Being a farmer who only focuses on one aspect of farming can be risky if something happens. Somesh Bidika is aware of risks involved with single stream farming, and decided to branch out to include livestock rearing.
Somesh has a passion for animals, and has always had them around his house. In the past, when his animals got sick he would try to bring in a veterinarian from another town to help resolve the illness. However, this was an expensive practice because they had to pay for the vet’s travel, time, and any medications used. One of the major problems was that the vet’s took time to arrive and many times the animal was already dead.
Tearfund’s local partner in India recognized how precarious life was for the people in Somesh’s community, the Saura people. For years they had worked to teach new agricultural techniques and introduce saving groups to improve food security, but people like Somesh wanted to reduce his risks and branch into new areas. So under the initiative of the community, Tearfund’s local partner developed a training on livestock and poultry management for farmers.
Somesh enjoyed the training immensely, soaking in as much knowledge as possible to bring back to implement on his own farm. The part he was most excited about was the session on ‘village veterinarian assistants’ which trained certain people in the village about how to recognize certain diseases in animals and how to treat them. Since the training Somesh has become actively involved in livestock management for his entire village.
“Now we no longer have to call a vet from another village because we are able to spot symptoms and treat them before our animals die” says Somesh.