Women empowerment is one of the main pillars for the development of the rural economy. A successful rural economy is impossible without the share of women empowerment as women seems to be the main driving force for the economy to develop and prosper. The women’s participation in the rural economy is invincible.
The best example of taking the women entrepreneurship to a new height is the Women’s self-help-groups from Murshidabad district of West Bengal who have been deemed as the major bread-earners for their own and the family too to a larger extent.
In recent years, the women groups of Murshidabad district have done a remarkable job by involving themselves in rearing of poultry and duck. As it is known that the importance of backyard poultry production is deemed to have overcome the never-ending problems of poverty, hunger and malnutrition in the country.
In Murshidabad, the poultry production output corresponds to the backyard poultry production because people prefer poultry units of small size such as 10 to 20 birds each rather than bigger units. These backyard units are becoming popular as it provides supplementary income as well as nutrition of high order without incurring extra expenditure.
In the district, the backyard poultry is regarded as an “ATM”, because of the ease of selling the birds and the eggs at any time, anywhere with cash in hands. The activity has further been made successful with the availability of good quality chicks or ducklings.
ICAR’s Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Murshidabad installed the poultry incubators approved by the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) that helped in fast hatching of eggs and increasing the production. This, in turn, helped the self-help-groups to increase the production and become self-reliant.
The KVK set up three incubators that are capable to meet the farmers’ demand for supplying of day old coloured strain dual purpose chicks and ducklings. One incubator in KVK campus and other two in two separate villages, Sahapur Dighidanga in Sagardighi block and Balarampur under Bhagwangola-1 block, among the women members of SHG’s.
These low cost poultry incubators have a capacity of hatching 500 eggs per cycle. The incubators, developed by the KVKs, are connected to LPG gas cylinder for maintaining the inside temperature and an inverter that maintains the inside humidity during the power cuts. Hatchability percentage of the incubators is between 67 percent to 73 percent. The farmers purchased the hatchable duck or poultry eggs and incubate them in low cost hatchery.
The community members rear the ducklings or chicks up to a period of 25-28 days in the brooding units available in their respective villages and maintain the vaccination schedule. After the period, when the birds attain the body weight of around 150-200 gm, the members sell them off to the respective Block Livestock Development Officer, ARD as per the demand at Rs. 40-45 per birds or to the local cycle vendors at Rs. 38 per birds. In the process, the members earn up to approximately Rs. 4,800 to Rs. 5,000 as the net profit from one batch within 40-45 days.
In order to make the women groups aware about the operation of the incubator, the KVK provided community training programme with a visit to Poultry Incubator-cum-Mother Unit Farm.
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