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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-75: SALAMMA’S DAIRY!


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Kandula Salamma is 60 years old. She lives with her husband and two sons in Penchikalapadu village of Cumbum mandal in Prakasam district. Her other two sons are married and have set up their own establishments. They have two acres of irrigated land. Because of a shortage of groundwater they were able to grow only red gram.

They also had two buffaloes. They needed a tractor-load of dry fodder for them. They had to get the fodder from Nandyal at a cost of Rs.2, 700. Without adequate fodder there was a drastic reduction in the milk yield to just 4 litres a day, and that too only for six months in the year. The family consumed 1 litre and sold the remaining 3 litres at Rs.8 per litre. This income was insufficient for the family of four. As a
result the third son dropped out of school from the 10th standard. Kandula Salamma’s husband Subba Reddy was not interested in rearing the animals, but she persuaded him to continue, as there was no alternative source of income.

Check dams and percolation tanks were constructed as part of the APRLP watershed development programme in the village. There was a gradual increase in groundwater and water in the wells. Observing this, the multidisciplinary team (MDT) generated awareness on fodder development. Salamma and fifteen others who showed an interest were provided with fodder seeds. While all the others grew fodder on
small patches of 20 or 30 cents of land, Salamma grew fodder in an acre of land.

The fodder offered scope for Salamma to rear more buffaloes. She took another loan of Rs.25, 000 from the Lakshmi self-help group. This loan was repayable in 10 months in installments of Rs.2, 750 per month. Though this was a huge amount, the availability of fodder emboldened her to take the loan. In the first month, the milk production was normal but later the yield improved dramatically as a consequence of buying hybrid animals and the ample availability of green fodder. The buffaloes yielded 4 – 6 litres
per day. Salamma started selling 20 litres of milk at Rs.10 per litre, earning Rs.200 per day.  She earned between Rs.5, 500-6, 000 per month, and could easily repay the loan installment from her monthly earnings. She was making a profit of about Rs.2, 000 per month after meeting expenses and repaying the loan every month.

As others also started growing fodder, the milk production shot up. The traders offered a lower price for milk as the production was high. Salamma started a milk collection centre with her third son and made an additional profit of Rs.5 per litre by trading in milk. As her income went up she not only cleared the
entire loan but also bought another buffalo with her own savings. She now owns five buffaloes.  Her husband is fully engaged in managing the buffaloes and milk production.

Salamma’s fourth son is studying in the 10th standard now and she wants to invest in his higher education, as she was sad that her third son had to drop out of school. From a stage of dependence on her husband, she has now become the breadwinner for the family. The entire family is gainfully employed and Salamma is a role model in the village, commanding respect from all.

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